Many of you know that the Alexandria SBDC is your local business resource to provide information on how to start, manage and grow your business. We are always looking to see what additional regional resources there are to help our clients and area entrepreneurs. George Mason University and Arlington Economic Development, along with several other entities, have teamed up to present three upcoming events that provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to hear from global thought leaders, learn cutting edge concepts and build their entrepreneurial networks and toolkit. To see what is happening at this spring’s “Venture Camp Entrepreneurship Speaker Series” at the Arlington George Mason University campus, go to the Events Calendar of Arlington Economic Development. This is an example of just one of many worthwhile programs you can find on Alexandria SBDC’s “Regional Workshop Schedule.” I encourage you to regularly review the Workshop Schedule to see what is available to help you or your employees learn new things, update skills or broaden your network. Go to Alexandria SBDC’s website and click on “Events.” As always, feel free to contact Alexandria SBDC with any of your business needs!
Patricia (Pat) L. Melton, Counselor
Pat Melton joined the Alexandria Small Business Development Center in 2006 as a Counselor focusing on providing business research to the center’s clients, after working with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership on its International Trade Team. She then worked at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology helping northern Virginia technology companies grow. Both organizations exposed her to numerous resources available to help Virginia businesses.
Many Small Business entrepreneurs interested in growing their businesses look to government contracting to sell their goods or services to state and federal agencies. Alexandria Small Business Development Center can help you in many areas of government contracting. To begin, you will need to register–think of it as the driver’s license to do government contracting–at all levels of government, and the requirements are separate and distinct for each level of government (i.e., local, state and federal). There is a great deal of information on the Alexandria SBDC website under the “Grow Your Business” heading about the registration requirements for Virginia state (eVA) and federal (CCR) registration. These registrations are generally done online, and it is necessary to have your formation documents (LLC or Corporate registrations, local business license, EFIN, and DUNS numbers) ready before you start the process.
Once you have reviewed the registration requirements, it is wise to see if there are any certifications for which you qualify that could give your business preference in the contracting process. At the Virginia state level, SWaM (Small, Woman-owned and Minority) certification is available for most small businesses. The application process is easier at the state level than at the federal level, so we generally advise small business owners to begin there. Again, there are SWaM resources on our website to that describe the process and walk you through the registration and certification.
As indicated, the federal certification process is more complicated and the requirements for preferential contracting set-asides are more onerous. Review the various programs through links on the SBDC website for the 8(a), WOSB, and other programs, described in detail on the SBAs website at www.sba.gov. The Alexandria SBDC is ready to assist you in determining which program works for your company, and we can assist in the certification process.
Finally, once you have completed all registration and certifications requirements, you will need to work on developing government business. This can be a time-consuming process, but there are certain “tricks and tips” that can assist you. The Alexandria SBDC is offering a six-part series on Federal Contracting during the winter and early spring of 2012, so visit our website events page often, connect with us however you’d prefer (email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or AlexandriaSmallBusiness.com) or contact the SBDC for more details. We also offer inpidual business development counseling for both federal and state contracting to City of Alexandria businesses.
Photo courtesy of Cliff