By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
View our Privacy Policy for more information or to change your preferences.
How to contract with the US government? 9 federal and state programs where you can apply

How to contract with the US government? 9 federal and state programs where you can apply

Table of content

One of the benefits of creating a company in the United States is being able to contract with the federal government. Public spending in the American giant in 2020 grew by 21.47%, a business opportunity that is not only for large companies.

The dream of many Latin Americans who have a presence in the United States through their companies is to contract with the US government. An aspiration that seems utopian, but that is more viable than it seems.

First let's look at some figures. According to macro data, public spending in the United States in 2020, grew by 21.47%, reaching a total of 8,304,424.3 million euros. That is, a rise of 9.49 points compared to 2019.

This is due to protectionist measures adopted by the US government to face the crisis caused by Covid - 19. And that they continue to execute, since in 2021 President Joe Biden announced that the agencies of the Federal Administration, with an annual expenditure of 600,000 million of dollars, when hiring choose American supplies and suppliers to boost the industry and support employment.

These measures are added to the implementation of 9 federal programs that aim to help small businesses earn at least 23% of the annual federal contracting budget; an initiative that is executed by the federal entity Small Business Administration (SBA).

These are the programs:

Disadvantaged Small Business

Each year the federal government awards about 10% of all federal contracts, approximately $50 billion in contracts, to disadvantaged small businesses.

These are the requirements to register your disadvantaged small business:

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

The federal government's goal is to give at least 5% of the annual federal contracting budget to women-owned small businesses.

The requirements to access this program are the same as for a disadvantaged small business and additional:

  • Meet all WOSB Program requirements for federal contracting.
  • Being owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a net personal capital of less than US $750,000.
  • Each with $350,000 or less in average adjusted gross income for the past three years.
  • In addition, they must have US $6 million or less in personal assets.

Veterans Assistance Programs

The federal government's goal is to award at least 3% of the annual federal contracting budget to small businesses owned by veterans with disabilities..

In project there are several services:

  • Hiring opportunities for veterans.
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification.
  • The Program for Federal Contracting of Small Businesses Owned by Veterans with Disabilities.
  • Leftover Personal Property Program for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.

The benefits of accessing this program is that small, veteran-owned businesses can compete for contracts reserved in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through Your Veterans First Hiring Program.

The department each year grants veterans a myriad of opportunities in reserved contracts. The VA also reserves contracting opportunities for small businesses owned by veterans with disabilities.

8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) program It is a project that has been running for nine years. It was created to help companies that are owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people.

These are the benefits:

  • Bid for and receive reserved and exclusive supplier contracts.
  • Receive personalized assistance for a period of nine years from a specialist who will help you identify business opportunities.
  • Receive mentorship from experienced and technically capable companies through the Program mentor-protégé of the SBA.
  • Advice with experts in acquisitions and legal compliance in the context of business growth, finance and public contracting.

The requirements to access this program are:

  • Being a small company.
  • Not have participated in the 8(a) program previously.
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged US citizens.
  • Have personal net worth of $750,000 or less, adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less, and $6 million or less in assets.
  • Demonstrate the potential for success, i.e. have been in business for two years.

SBA Mentor-Protégé Program

This program is for small businesses to learn from an experienced government contractor. Benefits range from guidance in internal business management systems, accounting, marketing, manufacturing, and strategic planning, to financial assistance in the form of capital investments, loans and surety bonds, and assistance in the bidding and procurement process for federal contracts. teaching international trade, strategic planning and market research, business development, identification of contracting and partnership opportunities, and general and administrative assistance, such as human resource exchange or security clearance support.

There are two ways to participate in this program, as a mentor and protégé. These are the requirements:

To qualify as a mentor, your company must:

  • Be organized for profit or as an agricultural cooperative.
  • Be able to fulfill your responsibilities to help the protégé.
  • Not appear on the federal list of disqualified or suspended contractors.
  • Be able to add value to a protected business either through lessons learned and hands-on experience gained, or through knowledge of general business operations and federal contracting.

To qualify as protected, your business must:

  • Being a small company with experience in the sector.
  • Be organized for profit or as an agricultural cooperative.
  • Have a proposed mentor before applying to the program.

Joint ventures

What this initiative seeks is for certain companies to bid together for public contracts reserved for small companies. The benefit of accessing this program is that the costs and resources will be shared.

Let us remember that to create a joint venture each of the participants must be identified separately with their own name and have a Unique Entity Identifier and a business and government entity code in the System for the Award of Federal Government Contracts.

7(j) Administration and Technical Assistance Program

The SBA provides high-quality assistance to eligible businesses to help them bid on federal, state and local government contracts. Companies participating in this program receive training, executive education and individual consulting in a wide range of activities, and the opportunity to participate in courses in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Strategic and operational planning
  • Financial analysis
  • Business development
  • Contract administration
  • Compliance
  • Miscellaneous business related software

The requirements to join this program are:

  • Be located in high unemployment or low income areas.
  • Be owned by people with low incomes.
  • Be certified as a participant in the program 8(a), as a small business in a HUBZone or as a woman owned small business at an economic disadvantage.

HUBZone Certificate

To encourage small business growth in historically underused areas, the federal government provides at least 3% of the annual budget for federal contracting to HUBZone-certified small businesses.

By joining the HUBZone program, the company acquires the right to compete for the reserved program contracts, in addition to this, they obtain a 10% preference in the evaluation of prices in full and open tenders for contracts.

The requirements to access the program are:

  • Being a small business according to SBA size standards.
  • Must be at least 51% owned and controlled by US citizens, community development corporation, agricultural cooperative, Alaska Native-owned corporation, Native Hawaiian organization, or Native American tribe.
  • Have your main office in a HUBZone: here you can find the map.
  • Have at least 35% of employees living in a HUBZone.

Assistance program for the sale of natural resources

A thriving business opportunity in the United States is clean energy, the government sells large amounts of natural resources and surplus goods. Many of those federal assets are earmarked for small businesses.

This program covers 5 categories: wood and related forest products, strategic materials, royalty oil, concessions for the exploitation of minerals, coal, oil and gas, movable and immovable property declared surplus.

To participate, you must first identify the resource of your interest and accordingly, meet a series of requirements demanded by the SBA. In the next link you will be able to find each of the requirements.

Diego Prieto
Press Officer

Sign up for the newsletter and learn how to grow your business in the United States.

Thank you for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Enterprising woman wearing gray blazer and glasses