7 steps to doing business with the government
- Look locally. Contact your city and county public works departments to find out how they publish bid opportunities.
- Self-certifications: The federal government recognizes small businesses (SBE), women-owned (WBE), and disadvantaged (i.e. minority) businesses (SDB). The SBA has established two widely used size standards for small business:
- Fewer than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and
- Less than $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries.
- HUBZone businesses. If your business is located in a low-median income or high unemployment area, you may be eligible for preferential bidding on federal projects.
- SBA 8(a) program for minority businesses. The SBA 8(a) program provides direct help in obtaining federal contracts. Participants must have been in business at least 2 years and have non-businesss and non-home assets less than $250,000. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development. To apply, visit https://sba8a.symplicity.com/applicants/guide.
- US Department of Transportation recognizes veteran-owned small businesses. For more information, visit http://osdbu.dot.gov/about/customers.cfm#VOSB.
- The State of Illinois awards nearly $400 million to Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certified firms. These companies are owned by minorities, women and the disabled.
The State also has a Small Business Set-Aside Program, where over $56 million in contracts are awarded.
Visit http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/business/sell2/bep/Pages/default2.aspx to become certified for BEP or the Set-Aside Program.
For state contracts, complete a Bidder’s Application Form. You can find the form at http://www.state.il.us/cms/download/pdfs/sel_bapp.pdf
You can sign up to receive Illinois solicitations by email at http://www.purchase.state.il.us/ipb/registration.nsf/RegMainFrameset
You can also contact your local SBDC ( Small Business Development Center) for free assistance with government contracting. Visit http://www.llcc.edu/sbdc.