Government Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses
The government is particularly concerned to include small businesses as it buys goods and services for several reasons:
- To ensure that large businesses don’t “muscle out” small businesses
- To gain access to the new ideas small businesses are great at providing
- To support small businesses as engines of economic development and job creation
- To offer opportunities to disadvantaged socio-ethnic groups
To these ends, most government agencies “set aside” a percentage of their acquisitions (what they buy) for small and disadvantaged businesses. In some cases, these set-asides might consist of certain types of tasks on larger contracts. In other cases, entire contracts may be designated for small businesses.
- The U.S. Government is the world’s largest customer
- It buys all types of products and services in both large and small quantities
- It is required by law to provide opportunities for small businesses
SELLING TO THE GOVERNMENT
8(a), HUBZone and WOSB Certification
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Competition is fair and open—The process of requesting proposals, evaluating bids, and making awards should take place on a level playing field with full visibility. Any business that is qualified to bid should be considered.
Products and services are competitively priced. The government seeks pricing that is commensurate with its formidable buying power.
The government gets what it pays for—The government protects itself by carefully defining requirements, terms and conditions for all purchases. Contractors must document that they have fulfilled all requirements and met all terms in order to be paid.
Both the government and contractors comply with the law—Different rules and regulations apply to different types of purchases. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) apply to most federal agencies. Individual organizations often have their own rules as well.