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Wyoming Business Tips for Sept. 18-Sept. 24


September 12, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Amy Lea, Wyoming Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

"Is there a way to determine how much money federal government agencies spend in Wyoming, and what type of products and services they buy?" Greg, Rawlins

The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR 4.6) require agencies to report all contracts for $3,000 or more, and all modifications to these contracts, to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) at https://www.fpds.gov.

FPDS allows users to access standard reports without registering, but registered users can access more detailed information. Either way, the information is free.

An FPDS standard report shows that during the 2010 federal fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2009-Oct. 30, 2010), the government spent nearly $400 million on contracts in Wyoming. Of this, 70 percent of the dollars, more than $281 million, went to small businesses (this includes awards to out-of-state firms doing business in Wyoming). During the same period, the government spent $124.7 million on contracts in the state. Of this, 82 percent of the dollars, $102.5 million, went to small businesses.

Whichever way you look at it, the federal marketplace offers tremendous opportunity to Wyoming firms.

If you spend some time learning how to use FPDS at https://www.fpds.gov/common/pdf/V2_quickstart_combined.pdf, you will be able to run more complex reports. You can also see how much your competitors received in awards from a particular agency or during a given time period. You also can research the type of products and services different agencies purchase through North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code at http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/ or Product Service Codes at http://www.outreachsystems.com/resources/tables/pscs/. Many other reports are available as well.

USASpending.gov (http://www.usaspending.gov) is another free site for researching procurement data.  It pulls data from FPDS and other sources and provides information about contracts plus grants, loans and direct payments. It does not offer as many report options as FPDS, but has a more user-friendly interface.

 When determining whether the federal government buys the type of products or services that you offer, FPDS and USASpending.gov are great places to start. If you try to access these systems and find them confusing, don't worry -- the Wyoming PTAC can help. Contact Jeff Sneddon in Casper at jsneddon@uwyo.edu or (307) 234-3203; Natasha Stahla in Cheyenne at nstahla1@uwyo.edu or (307) 637-5029; or Lea in Thermopolis at alea@uwyo.edu or (307) 921-08499).

Our services are free and confidential. We often use GoToMeeting to see our client's computer screens (with their permission), which makes working collaboratively on research quick and easy.

A Blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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