Great Ideas for your Small Business:
Become a Government Contractor
The federal government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, so why not get in line? The Federal Marketplace should be your first stop.
The site is rich with information on how to market and sell products and services to Uncle Sam. The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Minority Enterprise Development (OGC/MED) are also there to help.
For example, the OGC/MED administers the Prime Contracting Program, which initiates set-asides for government contracts, so small companies get their share of the work. It also helps small companies work their way through the procurement process.
The Subcontracting Assistance Program ensures that small businesses receive the information needed on avail- able work. The recently revised 8(a) Program helps minority- owned small businesses receive federal contracts on a sole- source or limited competition basis.
The Procurement Automated Service System (PASS) is a database with more than 200,000 small companies interested in doing business with the government. PASS provides companies with a quick way to find small suppliers.
Most government agencies have a special department dedicated to helping you do business with them. Ask for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business at any federal agency.
The Business Service Centers (BSCs) are located in twelve major cities. These centers offer counseling, bid lists from vendors, and information of all types. Check with your local SBA office for locations.
The Department of Defense, a big spender, operates Procurement Technical Assistance Centers that provide information to businesses interested in selling goods and services to the government. The Air Force also has a special small business program. It conducts two-day seminars around the country to explain the process through the Air Force Business Education Team.
Susan Gilbert, owner of Interactive Elements, a New York City–based mass-transit consulting firm, landed her first government contract after going through procurement training. She later won the Women’s Business Enterprise Award from the Federal Transit Administrator. She continues to work with state, federal, and local transit agencies.
The DOD’s Mentor-Protégé Program has matched more than 200 small companies with successful government con- tractors. The experienced company teaches the ropes to the newcomers.
The SBA also has special programs for veterans, including the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which helps military personnel start small businesses. The Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Training Program is one that provides training to vets.
These are just some of the programs established to hook up small business with government contracts: Do some research and see which might apply to your company.