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Government contracting is a great way for businesses to expand their business The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other federal agencies have a number of programs to help small businesses compete for federal contracts. These programs, which are open to eligible businesses, can unlock contracts with the federal government, which is the largest buyer of products and services in the U.S. Here are five federal programs aimed at helping small businesses win contracts that may be a good fit for you.

1. Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program

This is an SBA program that offers contracts for WOSBs in industries where firms are underrepresented. WOSBs are firms that are at least 51% owned and controlled by women. The federal government awards at least 5% of all contracts to WOSBs annually. WOSBs may also qualify as economically disadvantaged (EDWOSB).

“Federal contracting opportunities are critical for WOSB and EDWOSBs, and developing contracting programs specific to supporting these women business owners remains an important focus area,” said Women Impacting Public Policy President & CEO, Candace Waterman. “Federal contracting dollars serve as an important revenue stream for WOSBs and EDWOSBs, especially those in the construction and tech fields. We welcome future initiatives by the SBA and the federal government to even further increase access to contracts.”

2. The 8(a) Business Development Program

This SBA program is designed for firms 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons. The federal government awards about 10% of all federal contracts to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) annually. The 8(a) program typically requires that businesses have revenues that exceed $10 million annually.

3. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program

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The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers this program, which is intended for businesses with at least 51% owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans. The federal government awards SDVOSB certifications to businesses with one or more service-disabled veterans managing day-to-day operations. The federal government awards at least 3% of all contracts to SDVOSBs annually.

4. Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program

The SBA HUBZone program awards contracts to small businesses in economically distressed communities.

5. SBA Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP)

The MPP is designed for a business mentor and protégé to jointly apply for contracts.

If any of these programs could potentially apply to your business, the first step for contracting with the federal government is to register through Sam.gov. The next step is to determine if you are eligible. Each certification process has a unique set of eligibility requirements. Review these requirements to determine if your business is eligible. The SBA also offers assistance if you have further questions on whether your business qualifies.

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