Help available to land federal contracts

Matt Varilek
Matt Varilek

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, recently announced that for the first time since 2005, the federal government has met and exceeded its goal of awarding 23 percent of its contracts to small businesses.

For the 2013 fiscal year, the federal government awarded 23.39 percent of contracts to small businesses. That represents $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars, according to the SBA Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

When small businesses earn federal contracts, it’s a “win-win” for entrepreneurs and their local communities. In Colorado, companies like J.G. Management Systems (JGMS) based in Grand Junction have benefited from numerous federal contracts. JGMS is a graduate of the SBA 8(a) business development program and provides engineering, environmental, project management and technical support services to federal and private-sector clients nationwide. JGMS employs 130 professionals and earns annual revenues of more than $12 million.

The SBA has increased its collaboration with all federal agencies to broaden opportunities for small businesses to better compete and qualify for federal contracts.

Furthermore, the Barack Obama administration has accelerated payments to small businesses through QuickPay, (www.sba.gov/content/quickpay-background) a program that helps small business owners better manage cash flow and grow their companies. Moreover, the private-sector SupplierPay (www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sba_initiatives/supplierpay_initiative) supports private-sector contracting for small businesses.

As administrator of the SBA region that includes Colorado, my goal is to ensure all eligible small businesses in the state enjoy the opportunity to compete for federal contracts to expand their revenue base and local employment.

What can your small business do to earn a share of federal contracts?

One of the first steps in becoming a federal contractor is to determine whether or not your small business qualifies for government contracts.

The SBA web page titled understanding the federal marketplace (www.sba.gov/content/federal-contracting-resources-small-businesses) can assist you in determining eligibility.  If your small business qualifies, register on the System of Award Management (SAM) (www.sam.gov/portal/SAM/#1), the primary database for vendors doing business with the federal government.

Additional support programs include:

The SBA 8(a) business development program, (www.sba.gov/content/about-8a-business-development-program) which offers an inclusive and broad scope of assistance to firms owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals. This program includes a mentor and protégé program designed to facilitate collaboration between successful large firms and small business participants in the 8(a) program.

The ChallengeHer Initiative, (www.sba.gov/community/blogs/challengeher-creating-procurement-access-and-opportunity-women-owned-small-business) an SBA partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express OPEN, provides women a forum for exchanging information and insights about federal contracting.

The small disadvantaged business (SDB) (www.sba.gov/content/disadvantaged-

businesses) and women-owned small business federal contracting programs (www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-program) help disadvantaged and women-owned firms compete for federal contracts of all sizes.

Learn more about small business federal contracting opportunities through the SBA online government contracting classroom at www.sba.gov/gcclassroom.

By using these tools, you can successfully navigate the federal contracting marketplace and propel your business into new markets.

The SBA is here to help, and we encourage you to contact our Colorado District Office at (303) 844-2607 for more information.