The US Federal budget is a whopping $3.8 trillion for 2014. Some of that spending has to circle back to small businesses through purchases of goods and services, no? Enter the Rockland Economic Development Corporation’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center, or REDC’s PTAC, which serves Westchester and Orange in addition to Rockland, helping small businesses procure government contracts and snag a piece of that massive spending pie.
As REDC’s PTAC program manager, Liz Kallen helps more than 700 businesses procure $100+ million in government contracts annually, holding their hands through federal, state, and local governments’ complex bidding process. We sat down with her for a quick coffee break to find out more about this little-known service.
They get a very consistent customer—government contracts are a great source of revenue. The federal government pays net 15 [15 days after receiving a complete and accurate invoice], so that’s great for cash flow. And it buys more than 17 billion products and services every year. Last year we had about 2,800 federal, state, and local contracts go to our clients, and that totaled about $106 million dollars. About a third, more than $30 million, goes to Westchester companies.
We help them navigate through the government procurement system. For example, for the federal government, bidders have to be registered in a system for award management before they can even approach a federal government agency. We also prepare them to look like they’re a respectable and responsible vendor by helping them create something called a capability statement, which federal agencies will ask a vendor to send them. So we get their foundation set up and get them registered where they need to be. We also have a free bid-match service.
We create a customized profile for companies that allows us to send them notices of bidding opportunities that match what they do. Then we will work with them on their proposal response.
There’s just a standard contract [a one-time or recurring order for goods or services]. There’s also indefinite delivery, where the agency knows it’s going to be needing something but doesn’t know how often or when, so it will send vendors a purchase order as needed.
It has to be a business-to-business sell, something that a government agency is going to buy. We don’t work with start-ups, so potential vendors should be in business for at least two years.