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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 Alyssa Lozier, WY PTAC procurement specialist
“With a recession upon our economy, I’ve expanded my business’s customer base and incorporated the federal government into my market. What are the benefits of considering a set-aside program when going after federal contracts?” Levi, Jackson
We all know that, when a recession is upon us, owning a small business can be difficult. But, did you know contracting with small businesses is an obligation of all federal agencies? Last year alone, $218 billion in government contracting dollars were awarded in Wyoming. With many small businesses capable of providing products and services to the government, therefore allowing these opportunities to be “set aside” exclusively for small business concerns, there definitely are opportunities to differentiate your business with a set-aside program.
The Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Set-Aside Program provides significant opportunities for women entrepreneurs. The program goal is to expand the number of industries where WOSBs are able to compete for and win federal contracts. It enables economically disadvantaged WOSBs to compete for contracts in industries where WOSBs are underrepresented.
The 8(a) business development program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The overall focus is to provide small businesses with nine years of mentoring, procurement assistance, business counseling, training, financial assistance, surety bonding, and other technical and management assistance.
The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOSB) Set-Aside Program allows contracting officers to restrict competition to SDVOSBs for sole-source or set-aside procurement opportunities where business ownership and control can be met. This does not provide preference to SDVOSBs, but rather allows contracting officers to create the set-aside or sole-source awards if they choose to do so. The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans First Contracting Program gives first priority to veterans and provides preference for veteran business owners who are not service disabled.
HUBZones, or historically underutilized business zones, are the only geographic place-based certification program. Intended for companies located in a high unemployment rate and low median income location, this provides the opportunity to pursue HUBZone set-aside contracts with a goal of increasing employment opportunities, stimulating capital investment and empowering communities through economic leveraging.
Set-aside programs do not guarantee sales, but rather reduce competition for contracts. Eligibility requirements for each set-aside program can be located on the Small Business Administration’s website.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.
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, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.