Federal government falls short of small business goal
I read this article based on the above headline and found some interesting statistics:
1.Each year, the federal government aims to send 23% of its contracting dollars to small businesses. In 2012, small firms received 22.25% of that money — $89.9 billion.
2.Only 4% of federal contract dollars went to small businesses owned by women, short of its 5% goal.
3.Businesses in “historically underutilized” areas received only 2.01% of federal contract money, short of the 3% goal.
The question that popped into mind was “What does this mean for small businesses?” After crunching the numbers it turns out that this tiny 0.75% shortfall equates to a $3.03 billion dollar miss! Or is this highlighting a huge potential for contracting?
There are some programs worth mentioning when it comes to government contracting:
8(a) Certification Program:
This is a nine (9) year term certification program for minority and women-owned businesses. It provides training, business development, and a mentor-protégé program that pairs an 8(a) business with an established government Prime Contractor. There are special contracting opportunities and other federal training programs that assist 8(a) certified businesses.
Hub zones are Historically Underutilized Business Zones. They were created to stimulate economic development and create jobs in urban areas by providing federal contracting assistance to small businesses, i.e., preferences for awarding federal contracts. This preference can be beneficial, especially for seasonally affected areas.
System for Award Management (SAM):
To do business with the Federal Government, a business must register on the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM (formerly CCR) is an online data base of information on thousands of small businesses and serves as a search engine for contracting officers, a marketing tool for small companies, and a “link” to procurement opportunities and other important information. It also provides links to online Commerce Business Daily, federal agency home pages and other sources of procurement opportunities.
These are important ways to do contracting for federal opportunities but there is also a way to do sub-contracting as well. Sometimes there are situations where partnerships make more sense or where a combined effort can make the bid more attractive. I’ve seen this be successful before:
SUB-Net, an extension of SAM, is primarily for prime contractors to post subcontracting opportunities. These opportunities may include solicitations or other notices, such as a search for “teaming” partners and/or subcontractors for future contracts. The SUB-Net site enables small businesses to use their limited resources to identify and bid on concrete, tangible opportunities. While the web site is designed primarily as a place for large businesses to post solicitations and notices, small businesses can also use it for the same purpose.
Overall I am seeing plenty of opportunity in the area of federal contracts and I can also share that organizations like Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are great partners to help with federal contracts. The SBA also has some additional resources to help you learn more about the process and other local channels to assist your business. If you have the expertise in the area these contracts are offered and are interested in making yourself competitive then please reach out today because there is an additional $3 billion in contract opportunities that needs to be fulfilled!