Five Government Contracting Programs That Help Small Businesses Compete

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Government contracts are a great way for companies to expand their business. The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and other federal agencies have a number of programs to help small businesses compete for federal contracts. Open to eligible businesses, these programs can unlock contracts with the federal government, the largest purchaser of products and services in the US. †

1. Federal Small Business Contract Program (WOSB) for Women

This is a SBA program which offers contracts for WOSBs in sectors where companies are underrepresented. WOSBs are companies that are at least 51% owned and controlled by women. The federal government awards at least 5% of all contracts to WOSBs annually. WOSBs may also qualify as economically disadvantaged (EDWOSB).

“Federal contract opportunities are critical for WOSB and EDWOSBs, and developing contract programs specific to supporting these female entrepreneurs remains an important area of ​​focus,” said Candace Waterman, president and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy† “Federal contract dollars serve as an important revenue stream for WOSBs and EDWOSBs, especially those in the construction and technology sectors. We welcome future initiatives from the SBA and the federal government to further increase access to contracts.”

2. The 8(a) Business Development Program

This one SBA program is intended for companies that are 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons. The federal government awards approximately 10% of all federal contracts annually to socially and economically disadvantaged companies (SDBs). The 8(a) program typically requires companies to have revenues greater than $10 million per year.

3. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program

The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers this: program, which is intended for companies with at least 51% owned and operated by veterans with a service limitation. The federal government awards SDVOSB certifications to companies with one or more disabled veterans who manage day-to-day operations. The federal government awards at least 3% of all contracts to SDVOSBs every year.

4. Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program

The SBA HUBZone Program awards contracts to small businesses in economically distressed communities.

5. SBA Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP)

The MPP is designed for a business mentor and protégé to apply for contracts together.

If any of these programs may apply to your business, the first step to contracting with the federal government is to register through: sam.gov† The next step is to determine your eligibility. Each certification process has a unique set of eligibility requirements. Review these requirements to determine if your company qualifies. The SBA also offers help if you have further questions about whether your company is eligible.

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