As the recession continues to loom, the federal government is working to dole out procurement dollars to eager solid businesses. The U.S. government is the world’s largest buyer of products and services. And this year, the central government entity is on course to spend upwards of $600 billion in stimulus money on products and services among other goods. Make sure your small business isn’t left behind by checking out these five ways to position your company (which should already be registered and ready for doing business) to access the lucrative contracts and monies of the Recovery Act. But act fast. Funds are expected to last until September 30th, 2010, according to James Gambardella, acting director for government contracting with the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Find the money. Do your research for the appropriate job, agency and contracting officers. Be sure to monitor the agency you are interested in regularly—you never know when you’ll spot more avenues for funding. The primary avenues to track opportunities are at FedBizOpps.gov under the recovery act opportunities option for procurements over $25,000; for recovery act grants, go to Grants.gov and click on the recovery act grants option; and to find solicitations for recovery subcontracting, go to Web.sba.gov.
Use the middle man. Seek out services to support you. Consider procurement center representatives, known as PCRs, who can direct you to local contracting opportunities. A list of PCR names, phone numbers, their location and buying activities they cover, can be found at SBA.gov. Other options include the Minority Business Development Agency, and a federal agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. The SBA offers local resources such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers and more. Search for one of these SBA resources near you at www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html.
Form partnerships and network. Have a team of several small and large businesses you can tap into and go after recovery procurements with. You should also map out a plan to market your business and network with the appropriate contracting officer. Contact a SBA district office in your area to speak with a business development specialist about how to connect with a contracting officer. District offices also hold events periodically for small business owners to meet with contracting officers.
Go local. The federal government isn’t the only avenue for recovery funds. A majority of dollars are flowing down the pipe through state and local governments in the form of grants, contracts, subsidies and loan programs. For a link to your state and its programs, refer to the U.S. map on Recovery.gov.
Gain knowledge. School is now in session with the SBA’s latest online training course, “Recovery Act Opportunities: How to Win Federal Contracts.” You’ll learn the basics for doing business with the government, with a section dedicated to finding recovery contract and grant opportunities. Start making the grade by checking out SBA.gov