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July 2011| See all articles in this issue

Doing business with the federal government

Looking for a new marketplace for your business? The United States federal government is the world’s largest buyer of products and services, purchasing over $425 billion in goods and services, according to the Small Business Association (SBA).

The federal government has set specific government contracting goals, including a goal to have 23 percent of government contracts awarded to small businesses. Furthermore, portions of that 23-percent slice of the pie are intended to go to certain “certified” businesses, including women-owned businesses and service-disabled veterans' businesses.

• For example, five percent of that 23-percent pie is for small disadvantaged businesses. If you are certified as a small disadvantaged business (referred to by the government as an 8A business), you will qualify for a nine-year business development program to help you jumpstart your business.

• There’s also a certification for HUBZone (historically underutilized business zone) businesses, i.e., firms located in impoverished rural or urban areas with a certain number of employees.

How do you get started?

First, do some online research to identify which government agencies buy your product or service. You must know the NAICS code for your business. Your NAICS code is key to matching which agencies are buying what you offer. Find your NAICS code here.

Here are some websites useful for researching these opportunities: - Identify who buys your product or service - Get notices of government requirements for your NAICS code - Compete online for government contracts in your NAICS code - Rregister in the Phoenix database to get free contract referrals.

You can also check out the SBA government contracting opportunities by linking to its website.

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