From PTAC to Tennessee APEX Accelerator: A Journey of Empowering Small Businesses

Government Contracting at UT CIS

The Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), now known as the Tennessee APEX Accelerator, is a vital resource for businesses seeking to navigate the complex world of government contracting. Over the years, PTAC has played a crucial role in aiding businesses to secure government contracts, fostering economic growth, and promoting entrepreneurship. This article documents the history of the Tennessee PTAC and its transition to the Tennessee APEX Accelerator, highlighting the organization's commitment to driving innovation and prosperity in the region.

The Tennessee PTAC was established in 1986, the year after the U.S. Congress authorized the program in an effort to expand the number of businesses capable of participating in the government marketplace and was administered by the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency. Its primary aim was to provide specialized assistance to businesses seeking to participate in government procurement opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels. By offering training, counseling, and expert guidance, PTAC quickly became a critical resource for both small and large enterprises looking to venture into the world of government contracting.


“The Tennessee APEX team have been an invaluable resource in assisting Chatt Creative in gaining a comprehensive understanding of government contracts and procurement. With their guidance, we have obtained our first statewide contract, and we are optimistic about securing numerous more contracts in the future. Their support has been greatly appreciated.” – Chatt Creative


Over the years, PTAC achieved significant milestones in its mission to support Tennessee businesses. The center's experienced counselors worked closely with companies to develop tailored strategies for securing government contracts, identifying relevant opportunities, and preparing winning bids. Through a variety of workshops, webinars, conferences, and one-on-one consultations, PTAC helped countless businesses understand the intricacies of the procurement process, compliance requirements, and best practices for success.

In 2023, the Tennessee PTAC became known as the Tennessee APEX Accelerator. With the recent move to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) the Tennessee APEX Accelerator team still provides the high-quality technical assistance and training to Tennessee businesses seeking to compete for government contracts. The team’s newest focus areas include:

  • Increased effort to support the Defense Industrial Base
  • Expanded efforts for assisting clients with innovation
  • Connecting with more manufacturers

This team also offers free government contracting training courses, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) coaching, guidance and training on cybersecurity compliance and specialized procurement topic counseling.


“Becoming an APEX Accelerator client has been one of the best decisions we have made as a business, and we are grateful for their continued support. We are thankful for the knowledge and background of the APEX Accelerator counselors. Their expertise has helped us provide fast and reliable services to our government.” – Terrell Richards, APEX Accelerator Client W&T Contracting Corporation


The Tennessee APEX Accelerator spearheaded several key initiatives to drive innovation and support emerging businesses. By hosting networking opportunities, elevator pitch reviews and matchmaking events, the APEX Accelerator provides platforms for businesses to showcase their ideas and connect with potential investors and partners. Additionally, the APEX Accelerator collaborates with universities and research centers to promote technology transfer and commercialization of cutting-edge research.

The impact of this transition was evident in the success stories of businesses that flourished under the guidance of the APEX Accelerator. These entrepreneurs received expert advice, and companies successfully secured government contracts and commercial deals.

“The Tennessee APEX Accelerator has positioned itself to be a strategic source of technical assistance and training for businesses interested in expanding through government contracting,” says Paul Middlebrooks, Tennessee APEX Accelerator Program Manager. “The program has also established partnerships with Large Prime Contractors seeking to diversify their global supply chain. We look forward to accelerating entrepreneurship and business growth in Tennessee.”

The journey of the Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center to become the Tennessee APEX Accelerator exemplifies a commitment to adaptability and growth. While the PTAC played a crucial role in supporting businesses' government contracting efforts, the Tennessee APEX Accelerator took that mission further by fostering innovation and empowering entrepreneurs to embrace technology-driven opportunities. Through its diverse range of services and collaborative initiatives, the APEX Accelerator team continues to be a driving force in promoting economic growth and prosperity across Tennessee. For more information about the APEX Accelerator, visit


60 Years of Service and Innovation at UT CIS


Tags Government Contracting