Thursday, January 07, 2016

Contracting Corner: A Few Good Rea$on$ to Consider Government Contracting

This is the first post in our "Contracting Corner" series from Judy Wolf, Government Contracting Coordinator, Mohawk Valley SBDC & NY SBDC Procurement Assistance Center

Interested in government contracting? There’s good reason to look toward this area of opportunity. According to, on the federal level in FY 2015 alone, more than $428 billion were spent on nearly 3.4 million contracts. More than 127,000 of those contracts were awarded in New York State, bringing nearly $9.4 billion into New York.
Add to that the fact that it is written into law that the federal government has to do everything in its power to funnel 23% of its spending to small businesses, and this equates to great opportunity for entrepreneurs!

Federal agencies take this responsibility very seriously. Recent measures to enforce the importance of these goals include adding measurements to the evaluations of senior federal agency officials tracking progress toward meeting small business utilization goals. As you can imagine, these goals are now getting some very close attention from federal agencies.

New York State itself has what are called “centralized contracts” in place for commodities, services and technology – such as fuel, vehicles, office supplies, food, elevator maintenance, IT hardware and software, and other frequently and universally needed items. There are nearly 1500 of these contracts that can be tapped into by any state agency, public authority, local government, public school, or nonprofit or volunteer organization.

Individual agencies also contract for a variety of other products and services that aren’t covered by the centralized contracts. The Office of the State Comptroller has to review and approve all contracts valued at more than $50,000, and in 2014 (for example) this included nearly 24 thousand contract transactions valued at $44.4 billion 1 .  That’s a lot of money flowing into government contracts.
Similar to the federal small business utilization requirements, New York State has a strong utilization requirement for minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) – 30%, more than any other state. As you can imagine, this makes New York a very popular state in which to get certified as an MWBE!

All this, and we haven’t even touched on the possibilities of contracting at the local government level. There are multiple doorways into this potentially lucrative arena, as well as considerations on whether this is a good avenue for your company and how to make the most of it if you decide to go there. Stay tuned! Upcoming blog posts will touch on these topics.

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