By Rieva Lesonsky
In fiscal year 2012, the federal government delivered 23 percent of all federal contracting dollars to small businesses, and during the first term of the Obama administration, $376.2 billion in contracting dollars went to small businesses. If you’re applying for a small business loan or looking to attract seed capital, having a government contract looks great in your business’s portfolio. If you feel like your business is not ready to become a prime contractor, you can still get your share of the federal procurement pie by becoming a subcontractor. Here are some resources to help:
- SBA’s Contracting Support for Small Businesses: Start here to learn all you can about contracting for the government. Find out if you qualify for set-asides for specific types of small businesses such as women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, small disadvantaged businesses and more. You’ll also learn about size requirements and the HUBZone program, which helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
- Small Business Set Asides: Check out this extensive list of FAQs to answer all your questions about Small Business Set Asides–procurement contracts that are set aside for small businesses.
- System for Award Management (SAM): Formerly split up into several sites and lists, SAM is the consolidation of nine federal procurement systems and is now the official U.S. government online database. There is no fee to register for this site and the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) requires all prospective vendors to be registered in SAM prior to the award of a contract. SAM is also a great marketing tool for your business, as it allows government agencies and contractors to search for your company based on your ability, size, location, experience, ownership and more.
- SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search: This is not as closely monitored as SAM but still a good place to list your business in case prime contractors are looking for a subcontractor in your field.
- SBA’s SUB-Net: On this website, prime contractors post “solicitations” or “notice of sources sought” (NSS) for small businesses. Search through open RFPs (request for proposal) for subcontracting opportunities.
- FedBizOps.gov: This easy-to-navigate listing features over 29,000 federal contracting opportunities.
- Association of Procurement and Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC):Congress created PTACs to help businesses seeking to compete successfully in federal, state and local government contracting. PTACs provide a range of expert services at the local level for little or no charge.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports