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Government Contracts Can Give Big Boost to Small Business

Posted on April 01, 2014 at 1:42 PM
Tags: small businesses, veterans

Hot Ticket Events.jpgSelling goods and services to federal, state and local government offices and agencies can be profitable for all companies, no matter their size or target industries. But government contracts can be especially important for the stability and growth of small businesses.

That's why government at many levels takes pains to nourish small businesses by making sure they get a healthy slice of the procurement pie.

What's on the Federal, State and Local Menu

Based on the massive size of its budget, ($3.8 trillion in 2014), you might guess that the U.S. government is the single largest buyer of goods and services in the world. And you'd be right. But here's what you might not know. The federal government has specific goals for buying a substantial portion of what it needs from small businesses. 

Here are the targets:

  • 23 percent from small businesses

  • 5 percent from small disadvantaged businesses

  • 5 percent from women-owned small businesses

  • 3 percent  from small businesses in under-utilized urban and rural communities

  • 3 percent from service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses

In addition, large businesses that receive large government contracts are required to submit their plans and specific goals for using of the various categories of small businesses in their subcontracting.

States implement their own preferences and procurement targets, too.

The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Material Management Division, which is the state's central procurement office, operates a program for targeted group and economically disadvantaged small businesses, focusing on companies that are majority-owned and operated by women, persons with a substantial physical disability, or specific minorities as targeted group businesses within purchasing categories. Learn more about state preferences.  Many cities, counties, port authorities and other units of local government do the same.

Where Do You Start?

So, how does a small business owner find out about the opportunities, understand the procurement procedures, and win a contract or two? The upcoming 15th Annual Small and Disadvantaged Business Opportunities Council Government Procurement Fair is a great place to start.

Sponsored by the Federal Executive Board of Minnesota, the Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the event gives small companies a forum to meet with federal, state, and local procurement officials, commercial and prime contractors, and nonprofit organizations that help small businesses take advantage of government contracting opportunities. It also provides information about available technical assistance and upcoming contracts.

The procurement fair will take place Wednesday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, in Brooklyn Center . There is no fee to attend. Register for the fair online.

Matchmaking Opportunity

Small businesses have the opportunity to be matched with a government or corporate buyer interested in their particular product or service. Matches are made by appointment only. Online registration for a 10-minute appointment begins April 7th and closes April 25th. Register online for matchmaking sessions.  Matches will be posted on the SBA website on April 28. 

Topics, Breakout Sessions, and Panel Discussions

Here are some of the topics that will be covered in the breakout sessions, along with the presenters.

The Basics of Selling to the Government

Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Vikings Stadium Update and Opportunities

Mortenson Construction

Past Performance

Eckland & Blando, LLP

Understanding the GSA Schedule Program

General Services Administration (GSA)

Doing Business with the Veterans Administration Medical Center

VA Medical Center

Certification Panel

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); State of MN-Dept. of Admin.; MN Unified Certification Program (MnUCP); City of St. Paul-Central CERT & Section 3; North Central Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC); Women’s Business Development Center – Minnesota (WBDC-MN)

Doing Business with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Selling to the State of Minnesota

MN Department of Administration

Veteran Verification Process

Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

Understanding the HUBZone Program

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Government Contracting Programs for Veteran-Owned Businesses — Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?

The Law Office of Tim Connelly, PLLC

Prime Contractor Panel – Are You ready for Prime Time?

Fastenal, JE Dunn, and Redwing Shoe Company

8(a) Business Development Program Orientation

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Capability Statements

Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

System for Award Management (SAM)

Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

Wage and Hour Basics for Government Contracts

Department of Labor

The BioPreferred Federal Procurement Preference Program (Green)

Forest Service

Mentor-Protégé Panel


For More Information

Contact Randy Czaia at the Small Business Administration at 612-370-2314 or Sherri Komrosky at the Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center at 612-259-6565.



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