For companies wanting to obtain government work the best way to get started is to obtain one of the four SBA Certifications. It is imperative you get started now in reaching that goal. The certifications are : 8(a) Certification, WOSB, Hubzone, and SDVOSB. According to the SBA Statutory Guidelines the following is a breakdown of targets of awards to these businesses:
- 23% of prime contracts for small businesses;
- 5% of prime and subcontracts for women-owned small businesses;
- 5% of prime and subcontracts for small disadvantaged businesses;
- 3% of prime and subcontracts for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses;
- 3% of prime subcontracts for HUBZone small businesses.
Federal agencies are required to make every available effort to comply with these statutory targets, so small businesses with certifications are given contracting opportunities not available to other companies. These certifications allow for the following two ways to break into government contracting:
- Set-aside contracts allow the procurement officer greater ease in contract award and provide for a way around the formalized bidding process making it more likely for the company to be awarded a contract.
- Joint Ventures give the SBA certified company the ability to use the other company’s capabilities and past performance to secure contracts. The joint venture firm is usually in need of the SBA certificate holder’s inclusion in the bid in order to be awarded the contract.
You can see the advantage of having one of these certifications but what do you do next? As always, we entrepreneurs sometimes have a problem planning. Visualize yourself with one of these statuses. You must be a small business. You must keep meticulous records. There is a lot of paperwork involved getting the status as well as maintaining the status.
I was in business for almost two years when I applied. By the time they reviewed my paperwork I did not need to file the two year waiver. I also had to prove gender discrimination which requires at least 10 stories relating to how you were discriminated based on gender. The process was arduous but so worth it. There are many lessons to be learned along the way and I will be blogging about those lessons.