For first time government contractors, a lot of the information and the processes can be overwhelming. It is highly recommended that you take advantage of on-line and in-person training that the SBA offers. Here are some of the opportunities available to you.
SBA Online Classes
• Business Opportunities: A Guide to Winning Federal Contracts—a free class, which outlines how to participate in federal contract programs. The 30-minute program focuses on the contracting process and includes links to more than 40 websites. View this and other small-business courses at http://www.sba.gov/training.
• INSIGHT: Guide to 8(a) Business Development Program—a free class, which helps you understand how to apply for an 8(a) certification. View this and other small-business courses at http://www.sba.gov/training.
Take advantage of counseling services available specifically for small businesses. Go to their websites to see the specific services, counseling, and training that each provides:
• Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)—http://www.sba.gov/sbdc
• SBA district offices—http://www.sba.gov/localresources
• Women’s Business Centers (WBC)—http://www.sba.gov/services
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are another resource to know. They provide technical assistance to businesses that want to sell product and services to federal, state, and/or local governments. To find a PTAC near you, go to http://www.aptac-us.org/find-a-ptac/.
Small Business Learning Center
The Small Business Learning Center provides comprehensive online course using both audio and script to provide information about the federal marketplace, contract rules and, most importantly, how to sell to the government.
Federal Contractor Certification
The Federal Contractor Certification is a training program for Veteran business owners intended to help these owners understand Federal contracting, respond competently to solicitations and perform successfully once they have won the contract. This is a joint project of the VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) with the assistance of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). Most course modules are offered through DAU at no cost to the Veteran. The program consists of four levels of certification, each with a different color of logo to represent successful completion of that level. Each successive level is built upon completion of all previous levels, so a company displaying the gold logo will have completed all four levels of the certification.
To take part in this training, contact the nearest participating Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and register with a counselor. There are two central PTACs in Virginia, and their local offices can be found at www.craterptac.org and www.vaptap.org . The counselor will interview the owner to determine eligibility for the program. Once registered with the PTAC counselor, the owners will take the course modules at their own pace and present the completion certificates to their counselor.
When all topics in the level have been completed, the owner will be eligible to take the comprehensive level exam at the center. There will be a minimum number of questions from each topic that need to be passed in order to pass the exam. Owners passing the exam will be presented with a lapel pin, logo and certificate to advertise this capability.
The program, when fully implemented, will consist of four levels of certification, each with a different color logo to represent successful completion of that level. Each successive level is built upon completion of all previous levels, so a company displaying the gold logo will have completed all four levels of the certification.
• Level 1 certification, consisting of 10 topics, covers the basic understanding of federal contracting.
• Level 2 covers more complicated topics lic teaming, joint ventures, and legal issues.
• Level 3 covers special certifications, large contract vehicles, and advanced issues.
• Level 4 is industry specific (manufacturing, IT, and services) to learn the issues, regulations, and policies that are unique to that industry.
Small Business Development Website- www.sba.gov