In the United States a minority is a person who is an African American; Asian Pacific; Hispanic; Native Americans (of all tribes including Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander); and Subcontinent Asian. Women are considered among the minority group because historically, Veterans and Service Disabled Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) can also be included in the disadvantaged category for diversity certification.
- 8(a): A certification offered the SBA in the SBA’s Business Development Program and allows them participation in federal procurements that are specifically set aside for 8(a) certified businesses.
- ABE: Asian [American] Business Enterprise; an Asian-owned business that has received certification.
- ACDBE: Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; an airport concessionaire business that has received DBE certification [see DBE below].
- DBE: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; a disadvantaged business that has received DBE certification. (Must be socially and economically disadvantaged to qualify.)
- HUBZone: Federal designation for historically underutilized business in designated urban or rural areas or designated census tracts.
- MBE: Minority Business Enterprise; a minority-owned business that has received MBE certification.
- MWBE: Minority Woman Business Enterprise; a minority-woman-owned business that has received MWBE certification.
- PWD: Person with Disability or Disabled; a disabled-owned business (DOBE) that has received certification.
- SBE: Small Business Enterprise; a certified small business.
- SDE: Small Disadvantaged Enterprise; a small business that has received SDE certification.
- SDVOSB: Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise; a service-disabled veteran-owned business that has received certification.
- VOSB: Veterans Owned Small Business Enterprise.
- WOSB/EDWOSB: Federal designation for Woman Owned Small or Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business.
A large corporation may have its own internal mandates that are not relevant to any specific job or project. These mandates, or goals, exist because the business is sensitive to its corporate social responsibility. On the other hand, if the corporation has contracts with state or federal government agencies, they may be required to meet certain diversity spend goals in conjunction with a particular effort.
If your client is a state agency, or you are subcontracting on a state project you may know that some jobs have state mandated participation goals (e.g. NY 30% MWBE on all contracts). And, some jobs may have state DOT mandated participation, meaning the work has to be supported by DOT certified DBEs (this also includes the UCP programs in most states). And, some corporate contracts will have federal spending goals because there are federal funds associated with the project.
All federal contracts have diversity spend goals, see chart below. And the feds ask their primes to help meet those goals in the prime’s spend (which is how we get to accounting for and reporting on tiered spend goals). The US government has annual diversity spend goals:
- 23 percent small business (gender & race neutral)
- 5 percent small disadvantaged business (minority)
- 5 percent small woman-owned business
- 3 percent HUBZone small businesses (SBA program)
- 3 percent service-disabled veteran-owned businesses
Your company can also get a leg up on the competition by obtaining a small business set-aside certification. These set-aside categories include woman-owned, disadvantaged-owned, service-disabled-veteran–owned and HUBZone small business. "Set aside" means that the contract needs to go a small business that has one of those certifications, preventing large businesses from submitting proposals or bids on the solicitation. In some cases, there is a "sole-source award," and the contract is awarded to a qualifying company without a competitive process.
When you identify an opportunity you want, prepare and submit your bid or proposal. Each solicitation will have detailed information about what should be in the proposal, how to assemble it and the method of submission (electronic or hard copy by mail). Be careful to follow the instructions exactly. Government processors will disqualify noncompliant proposals at the beginning of the evaluation process.
|s|b|g|a| Encourages small businesses to monitor and respond to Sources Sought and request for information (RFI) posts on Federal Biz Opps. Though going through the process takes some time, she said, the ability to find, explore and discuss these contracting opportunities is critical.
"What the government really wants to see with a Sources Sought or RFI posting is if they can set it aside in some way," Martin-Rosa said. "Don't be afraid to call the contracting officer and ask questions. Is this a new contract or re-compete? Who is the incumbent? You can do research on the incumbent on www.fpds.com, learn more about the contract and even reach out to them for teaming."
If bidding on your own seems daunting, look at the interested vendors list for that opportunity. |S|B|G|A| encourages small businesses to contact other small or large businesses to explore teaming up on a contract. Working with businesses already performing government contracts allows a small business that's new to the market to gain valuable insights. You can learn about meeting contract expectations, completing internal and behind the scenes processes to meet requirements and regulations, and building a past performance portfolio that will strengthen your ability to individually pursue contracts in the future.
"The key to successful teaming partnerships is to find a partner that is an extension of your company in integrity and quality,
"Small businesses know as much or more than large businesses. You just get to offer it to the federal government at a very affordable price."
Take a moment to find out if you qualify as a Government Contractor by telling us a little bit about your company.
|S|B|G|A| will then review the opportunities with you and determine if it would be a good fit for your company.
In-house financing available to those who qualify.
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|S|B|G|A| is a private firm and specializes in helping companies do "NO-BID" business with the Government via the DOD-State& Federal or GSA's Multiple Award Schedule Program.
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