With just a single phone call to your regional Procurement Outreach Center, you can be on the road to marketing your products or services to the government. The mission of the Procurement Outreach Center is to identify firms that are qualified to sell their goods and/or services to the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies, as well as to state government-administered programs. The ultimate goal of this government procurement resource is to stimulate the local economy, encourage growth and create new jobs in your area.
What the POC Can Do for You
Regional Procurement Outreach Centers can help businesses with several different aspects of the government bidding process. As a starting point, these centers can help you register your business with various government agencies in order to begin the process of becoming a new bidder. If you are a small business, the POC can help identify the government agencies that may be interested in buying products and services from you. There may also be sub-contracting opportunities available for your business that the Centers can inform you about. Procurement Outreach Centers can even provide information about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Value Added Network (VANs) services that businesses like yours can use to access government contracting information.
What Your Business Needs to Start Bidding on Government Contracts
In order to start marketing a business to the federal government, the business owner must first obtain a CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code number, which is a five-character alphanumeric identification number administered by the Defense Logistics System Center. This number is used to identify the commercial and government buying activities of registered businesses. Business owners will also need to obtain a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number before bidding on government contracts. DUNS is a numbering system developed by Dun and Bradstreet to identify businesses within an automated file system. Once a business has a DUNS number, they then need to register with the SAM database. SAM (Systems Award Management) is a single mandatory repository of standardized information about vendors that wish to do business with the government.
Note: Regional Procurement Outreach Centers can help business owners get a CAGE and a DUNS number to start bidding.
Resources Available at POC’s
Procurement Outreach Centers provide many resources for small business clients wishing to pursue government contracting opportunities. These resources include providing in-house bid solicitations, drawings and information, as well as educational workshops and programs that provide additional information about general and special areas of government procurement for current or potential small business owners. Other resources provided by POC’s include details about Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR), which outline government regulations and specifications that business owners need to be aware of during the bidding process.
Regional POC’s exist to help companies gain a better understanding of contract and referral services, to provide a variety of reference and resource materials, and to offer information about basic contracting fundamentals and the benefits of electronic commerce procurement practices, all of which can help businesses that are new to government contracting get up to speed with the process.