Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Finding Federal Programs That Help Minorities, Women

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Finding Federal Programs That Help Minorities, Women

Article excerpt

Q: I am a minority business owner of a small construction company. I am interested in finding out about procurement opportunities. Does the SBA or government offer any special procurement program for women and minority business owners?

A: There are contracting opportunities with the government available to any business, but special programs encourage participation by small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses and female-owned businesses.

Often the government will limit competition for contracts to small or minority-owned firms. There is also an increasing number of awards limited to companies owned by women.

These are called "set-asides." To take advantage of these opportunities, become familiar with your local government agencies. All have target goals for contracting with small and minority-owned firms.

One of the biggest myths about doing business with the federal government is that all you need to do is to get on a government bidder's list and wait for them to call you.

In reality, the government, like any other customer, does business with people it knows. Therefore it is essential that you continually market, market and market your services with the buyers and end users.

There are many places to obtain further information and assistance for getting involved with government procurement.

Each government agency has small-business specialists available to assist small-business owners interested in doing business with that agency. These individuals should be your first contact to identify a buyer or end user for your product.

A useful reference book is "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Doing Business with the Federal Government," by Charles R. Bevers (Prentice Hall, 1989). …

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