As regional administrator for the Great Lakes Region for the U.S. Small Business Administration, I am proud to announce our federal government met its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years, thanks to the SBA and President Obama’s commitment to increasing small business contracting opportunities. In Fiscal Year 2013, our government awarded 23.39 percent in federal contracts to small businesses which is $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars according to SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecard.
Advancement and 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. Furthermore, the Obama Administration has accelerated payments to small businesses through the “QuickPay” program so small business owners can maintain cash flow to grow their businesses. Additionally, the private sector’s equivalent, SupplierPay will support private sector contracting for small businesses.
We all know that when small businesses earn federal contracts, it’s a ‘win-win’ for small businesses, the innovative job creators who fuel the nation’s economy, and the federal government.
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 wonder: 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), the primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government.
Once you determine your business is small and register on SAM, you can contact your local SBA District Office to answer any immediate questions and to help your business flourish. There are 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 minority 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 (WIPP) and American Express Open provides women a forum for discussion on federal contracting and connects women-owned businesses to one another to increase their small business network.
You can learn further about small businesses and federal contracting through the SBA classroom. The GC Classroom can be accessed at www.sba.gov/gcclassroom.
By using these tools, you can successfully navigate the federal contracting marketplace and propel your business and the American economy. The SBA is here to help you, so after exploring the various SBA tools above, make sure you contact your nearest SBA office for additional resources and counseling.
Under the leadership of Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the new SBA looks forward to being Smart, Bold, and Accessible to America’s small businesses as they are the backbone of our economy. Therefore, we will continue to work tirelessly to create opportunities and continue the President’s efforts for small businesses to secure government contracts.
Marianne Markowitz is a regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.