Once all of the eligibility requirements for federal government contracts and grants have been met, there is certain protocol small businesses must abide by in order to bid for them and different databases that suppliers can use to search for available contracts.
The System for Award Management (SAM) is the primary database the federal government uses to locate contractors. In order to bid on federal government contracts, suppliers are required to register with SAM and create a business profile.
In addition to SAM are other databases that assist small business owners in applying for government contracts and grants. The Small Business Administration sponsors the Dynamic Small Business Search database (DSBS), which pulls information from a business’ SAM profile and creates a secondary profile for more exposure to contractors.
FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities is a posting site where all federal contractors list their available contract opportunities over $25,000. Suppliers can search and apply for applicable job opportunities through this Web site. The Federal Procurement Data System is another federal government-sponsored database that does not advertise available contracting opportunities, but rather collects all of the federal government’s historical contracting data. This provides useful information for suppliers who are interested in finding out about the types of government contracts that are available.
Other helpful tools for securing government contracts are the GSA Schedules Program, which was established by the U.S. General Services Administration, USASpending.gov—an online hub of information about government spending via federal contracts, and OSDBU.gov, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) Web site.
Government grants require a completely different application process, and each individual grant has specific requirements and instructions. These grants are mostly funded by taxes so they are under very strict regulations to guarantee the citizens’ tax dollars are being well spent. Both federal and state grants alike favor specific industries, and are classified as construction grants, non-construction grants or research grants. The Small Business Administration is a great resource to find out if your small business is eligible for a government grant or to obtain the proper paperwork.
Another useful tool for suppliers interested in bidding on contracts with government agencies and larger corporations is Supplier Connect, which is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet in partnership with Microsoft. Supplier Connect provides education, resources and business credit-enhancing tools that help increase a supplier’s competitive edge while seeking contract opportunities. For more information or to sign up for Supplier Connect, visit http://products.dandb.com/bd/supplierconnect2/.