Do business with the federal government

OW Staff Writer | 2/7/2020, 1:58 p.m.

Did you know the U.S. government is the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world? Every year, it awards more than $500 billion in contracts. Of those prime contracts, the federal government must set aside 23% for small businesses.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides several programs to help small businesses win federal contracts. Get started with our contracting guide.Government contracts are a tremendous financial opportunity for small businesses.

The U.S. government is the largest customer in the world. It buys all types of products and services — in both large and small quantities — and it’s required by law to consider buying from small businesses for several reasons, including:

● To ensure that large businesses don’t “muscle out” small businesses

● To gain access to the new ideas that small businesses provide

● To support small businesses as engines of economic development and job creation

The process of requesting proposals, evaluating bids, and awarding contracts should take place on a level playing field. The government should consider a bid from any qualified business.

Federal agencies must publicly list their contract opportunities. Some of these contracts are set aside exclusively for small businesses.

In some cases, these so-called set-aside contracts might consist of certain types of tasks on larger contracts. In others, entire contracts may be reserved for small businesses. When a contract is set-aside for one specific small business, it’s called a sole-source contract.

The SBA works with federal agencies in order to award 23 percent of prime government contract dollars to eligible small businesses. It also offers counseling and help to small business contractors. Visit www.sba.gov.