Does Your Small Business Qualify?


By Ijeoma S. Nwatu,

Small businesses do big business with the federal government. Think about the possibilities of generating sales and revenue with the government. Remember, the U.S. government is the world’s largest customer and it by law, is required to purchase items from small businesses. The Small Business Administration plays a major role in supporting businesses that want to work with the government. Learn whether or not your business qualifies and how to access these resources.

When working with the Small Business Administration, size matters! The size of your small business may seem relative but when working with the SBA there are standards to meet. A small business is defined ‘either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years.’ Also, all federal agencies use SBA’s size standards, and therefore it’s important to determine your NACIS code.

In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business concern as:

  • Organized for profit
  • Has a place of business in the U.S
  • Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor
  • Is independently owned and operated
  • Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Government Contracting & Business Development works with several federal agencies to award twenty three percent of all prime government contract dollars to small businesses. This requirement helps ensure federal agencies meet specific statutory goals for groups including:

  • Women-Owned Small Business
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
  • Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone)

Additionally, SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program supports eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in building and growing their businesses through counseling, workshops, and matchmaking opportunities with federal buyers.

Prior to bidding, your small business will need a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine-digit ID number for the physical address of your business. It’s free and required.

The Small Business Administration has a full, detailed list of prerequisites before you embark of registering your small business for contracting. Learn more about government contracting and how to qualify through the Small Business Administration or find the latest information via Twitter.

About the Author:

Ijeoma S. Nwatu
Ijeoma S. Nwatu
Ijeoma S. Nwatu is a digital strategy and communications consultant. She is the Communications Manager for ColorComm, an organization that aims to uplift women of color in the communications field. When not working with clients, Ijeoma can be found speaking about career transitioning and social media marketing. Follow her on Twitter: @ijeomasnwatu.


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