As a starting point, please know that the federal government has set aside goals for small businesses. That is, the government actually has established programs with goals and objectives for educating, encouraging, and assisting small businesses in the process. For example, almost every federal agency with procurement activities has an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). These offices are responsible for ensuring that small businesses, 8(a), small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZone, and service disabled veteran owned small businesses have an equitable share of the total number of prime contracts and subcontracts awarded by its agency. That is, the requirements for small disadvantaged businesses and 8(a) is 5%; women-owned small businesses, 5%; HUBZones, 3% and, Service Disabled owned businesses, 3%.
So, where do you go to find out how to qualify to sell to the U.S. Government as a small business? The following steps will help guide you through the process.
To determine your products and services classifications, the government uses categories classified as NAICS Codes that you can review at: http://www.sba.gov/content/identifying-industry-codes and
Check your size standard at: http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-size-regulations
Make sure you have your Dun & Bradstreet or D-U-N-S number to do business with the U.S. Government. For more information about D-U-N-S Numbers and how to obtain one, please check: http://www.sba.gov/content/getting-d-u-n-s-number and
Register in the System for Award Management (SAM) System.To register go to: https://sam.gov
Once you have determined whether or not you are qualified as a small business, you should work to obtain the certifications for which you qualify with the specific SBA program. The following programs will help you compete in the federal sector for set aside categories:
8(a) Business Development Program - http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/8a-business-development-program
HUBZone Program -
Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses -
Small Disadvantaged Businesses -
Women-Owned Small Businesses and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses - http://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-program
Finally, in addition to the programs available through the Small Business Administration, there are other local programs for which you might qualify through City, County, and State governments. For example, The City of Tucson provides DBE and SBC certifications for Pima County while ADOT provides certifications for Maricopa County and other Counties around the State. What is more, the City of Tucson, through the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs administers the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program for federal transit and highway projects and the Small Business Enterprise (SBC) Program. The SBE program offers incentives to small businesses interested in doing business with the City of Tucson on contracts administered by the Procurement Department, which may include, bid preferences and subcontracting goals for construction, goods, services and materials. For more information about the DBE and SBC certifications please visit http://www.tucsonaz.gov/oeop/dbe
For federal business opportunities please visit https://www.fbo.gov/