By Calvin W. Goings, Region 10 Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration and GSBA Board Member
I am proud to announce that the federal government met its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years. In Fiscal Year 2013, our government awarded 23.39 percent in federal contracts to small businesses. That’s $83.1 billion of contracting dollars, according to SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecard.
Progress continues in several small business prime contracting categories. The SBA has increased its efforts and collaboration with all federal agencies to broaden opportunities for our small businesses to compete and qualify for federal contracts. The new “Quick Pay” program has accelerated payments from the government to small businesses so small business owners can maintain cash flow to grow their businesses. And, the private sector’s equivalent, “Supplier Pay” program supports small businesses as well.
We all know that when small businesses earn federal contracts, it’s a ‘win-win’ for the federal government and for small businesses, the innovative job creators who fuel the nation’s economy.
As Regional Administrator, my goal is to ensure our small businesses continue to gain federal contracts to expand their opportunities and fuel the American economy. Therefore, you may be asking: what can my small business do to earn a share of federal contracts?
One of the first steps in becoming a government contractor is to determine if your small business qualifies for government contracts on SBA.gov. If your small business qualifies, you will need to register your business with the federal government’s System of Award Management (SAM) website, the primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government.
The SBA offers many additional support programs for America’s small businesses such as:
The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program offers an inclusive and broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled by underserved individuals. This program includes SBA’s Mentor Protégé Program, designed to connect successful firms with 8(a) program participants to establish your small business entrepreneurial success.
The “ChallengeHer Initiative”, a SBA partnership, with Women Impacting Public Policy and American Express Open, provides women a forum for discussion on federal contracting and connects women-owned businesses to increase their small business network.
And, SBA’s SUB-Net is a comprehensive database listing subcontracting opportunities by large prime contractors and other non-federal agencies. This is an excellent and alternative way to gain your share of the federal contracting process. You can find the list of opportunities at www.sba.gov/content/sub-net.
You can learn more about small businesses and federal contracting through the Government Contracting Classroom which can be found at www.sba.gov/gcclassroom.