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Theresa Walker, executive director for the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce (BCC), encourages small businesses hoping to increase their chances of scoring a contract by going to their nearest BCC office. She stresses that BCC offices around the nation can assist small business owners in opening doors throughout the contracting process. These offices host workshops, connect members with other members for business opportunities, and hold small business days when members have an opportunity to meet with federal agencies to discuss possible business expenditures. Small business owners are also encouraged to look at other businesses in their industries as partners and join ventures to go after procurement opportunities that they may not be able to get by themselves.
According to Walker, taking advantage of government contracts will “put you in a whole different category in making millions of dollars. [By] getting contracting opportunities, small business owners can grow their business and hire people with expertise who have been downsized by other corporations, which helps the economy.”
What do you self-certify as?
These self-certification programs assist small businesses in meeting the requirements of a particular contract:
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business: Special contracting opportunities are set aside for service-disabled veterans. Visit the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development Website to see if you qualify.
Veteran-Owned Small Business: Your company must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more veterans. For VA programs and veteran-owned business set aside by the Department of Veterans Affairs , visit their Website.
Women-Owned Small Business: Your company must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more women. Visit SBA.gov for programs and services for women entrepreneurs.
Which certification program is right for you?
The HUBZone Program: This program stimulates economic development and creates jobs in urban and rural communities by providing federal contracting assistance. Small firms qualify if located in a HUBZone designated area and employ staff who live in such areas.
8(a) Business Development Program: Assists socially and economically disadvantaged individuals develop and grow their small business. Nine year program includes counseling, training, and potential federal procurement opportunities.
Small Disadvantaged Business Certification Program: Qualified firms gain access to federal prime and subcontracting opportunities. Business must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Tomorrow, check out Part 2: SBA’s 8(a) Program Promotes Equality for Small Businesses.