Ed Note: This is a cross-post from the Small Business Administration blog.
If you were to ask a small business owner to identify a top priority on his or her wish list, undoubtedly they would say “to get more business!” We know that one way to get more business is to contract with the Federal government - the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. In FY10, nearly $100 billion federal contracting dollars went to small businesses. During this year’s National Small Business Week, the Small Business Administration worked to ensure small businesses made the right connections and gained access to federal contracting opportunities.
Matchmaking Procurement Opportunities
On May 22nd, during Procurement Day of National Small Business Week, SBA hosted a Business Matchmaking event that allowed small businesses to discuss procurement opportunities with major corporations and federal agencies. The event gave more than 150 small businesses from across the country an opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with major corporations and federal agencies to learn about specific contracting opportunities.
SBA’s Procurement Day also featured federal contracting panels on gaining access to federal prime contracting and subcontracting opportunities. During these panels, small businesses learned how to market themselves to the federal government and go after government contracting and sub-contracting opportunities. Small businesses heard from SBA experts about the agency’s contracting programs for small businesses. SBA officials walked small businesses through the federal procurement process as well as small business contracting programs such as the 8(a) Business Development program, HUBZone program, Women-Owned, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Programs. Small businesses heard first-hand how they can gain access to federal contracts to grow and create jobs.
Small Business Advocates to the Federal Government
In addition to SBA experts, small businesses heard from the officials responsible for advocating for small businesses from within Federal agencies. The Directors of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at DoD, DHS, GSA, HHS, and USAID explained how they promote the maximum practicable use of all designated small business categories in the Federal Acquisition process. Federal OSDBUs shared tips on how to do business with the federal government, market to the federal government, and prepare winning proposals.
Breaking into Corporate Supply Chains Promotes Growth
One goal for many small businesses contracting with the federal government is to develop their business and build revenue from sources other than the federal government. Small businesses that are able to break into corporate supply chains often experience phenomenal growth. One study even shows that after small suppliers link up with larger companies, they can experience 250% revenue growth and 150% job growth in just a few years. Panelists from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, AT&T, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, and L-3 Stratis shared their insights and perspectives on mastering the challenges of getting into the supply chains of large primes, and shared tips on how small businesses can better take advantage of both prime and sub-contracting opportunities.
Kicked off by a morning session honoring federal contractors, subcontractors, and winners of a variety of procurement awards, Procurement Day combined valuable education with unique opportunities for one-on-one access to Federal agencies and large corporate prime contractors.
John Shoraka is the Acting Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration.