By Jackie Robinson-Burnette
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters
WASHINGTON — Starting a business can be rewarding, but learning to navigate through the federal procurement process can be challenging. Each week, small business firms across the country receive counseling and training on how to do business with the Army from more than 50 dedicated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers small business leaders.
USACE understands how small businesses play a vital role in rebuilding our nation’s economy and strengthening the industrial base of suppliers ready to respond to our warfighters’ needs. The Army has an overall goal to dedicate about 23 percent of all U.S. contract dollars to small businesses, which adds up to an Army-wide small business program of $23 billion per year. USACE also has a robust commitment to using small businesses. We have achieved every assigned small business goal for the past two years, and our goal is to devote 43 percent of our contract dollars to small businesses.
Access to counseling and training is essential for the success of small business owners seeking to do business with the Army. Counseling simplifies the process, and can reduce time lost between a customer in need of services and a capable small business that has yet to gain an understanding of how to find and respond to contract opportunities.
It is important for firms to first do their homework and enter the door understanding the mission and vision of the organization they want to do business with. Firms must be prepared to explain how the organization can benefit from their service.
Counseling does not automatically lead to contracts, but it starts the relationship between the small business and the government, and gives small business owners the information needed to ensure a more focused quest for contract award.
Before contacting a small business advocate, business owners should first research the Federal Business Opportunities website to find current and open contract opportunities to discuss with the small business advocate, they can also view a comprehensive list of Army and USACE small business advocates offering counseling and training to small businesses.