Federal Contracting for Minorities - Maintaining Diversity In Contracting
Federal Contracting for minorities is a topic that deserves more discussion between small business owners and federal procurement officers. The reason that a discourse around this topic is overdue is because of the lack of minorities in federal contracting. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) there are only 170,934 small businesses who are registered federal contractors. Of course just because a company has registered as a federal contractor on the government’s website CCR, does not mean the company is an active and successful federal contractor.
When you begin to take a closer look at the 170,934 small businesses you will find that only 2% are minorities. Granted, there are other set asides and there is another conversation that could be had about the set aside program and it's necessity. However this article is not about the set aside programs and how they are still relevant, but more focused on how we as a country can move past the distain and distrust whenever someone says or feel that minorities are still a extra hand when we all need a hand.
There is no argument that this country in a state of disrepair and we all need to pull together if we are going to get out of our current condition. In order to do so we must recognize that we all have different needs and what will work for some will not work for others, but we are all moving to a common goal.
What I am advocating in here is team work. Surprise that I didn't say we should increase the amount that is set aside for minorities and that the government should do a better job in attracting minority business owners.
The last thing I would push would be extending and increasing a quota. What I believe will help maintain and cultivate diversity in contracting and increase federal contracting for monitories are partnerships. There are so many federal contracting opportunities that are two large for a single small business, however if small businesses team up with other small businesses particularly minorities, everyone wins. I am not trying to be "molly cheerleader", but prime contractors do it all the time. In fact, all prime contractors who receive a federal contract over five million dollars must subcontract to a small business; moreover prime contractors must also meet certain set aside goals within their own contracting programs. As you can see I am not suggesting something that is so farfetched that no one could or would do it. Believe me if prime contractors are partnering or teaming with small businesses there must be a reason and you can bet it is not because they are benevolent.
You might be wonder how a small business even go about teaming with another small business. There are many avenues to find a partner, but one thing you might consider is looking at your own company's strengths and weaknesses.
Think about how your product offering or service could be improved by partnering. Here is an example:
• The government was looking for a couples retreat package for its married
• A therapist saw the request for proposal and knew her firm could service
the need, however they did not have the required accommodations
• The therapist contacted a travel agency and discussed how they could work together to create a travel package for the government's request.
The therapist firm was simple a small business, however because they partnered with another small business that was woman and minority owned when they submitted their proposal, the government buyer found their proposal to be the "best value".
Although we are not going to talk about "best value" in this article, it is common place for the government buyers select a bid not solely based on price. Part of the "best value" in this scenario was that the buyer's needs were met and although the bid was not the lowest or the highest, the value the government received is that the contractors are both marginalized group within federal contracting and it serves the greater good to award the business to this bid.
Federal Contracting for Minorities - Doing Your Part
Minority small business owners who want to compete for federal contracts should look to partner to improve the chances of winning.