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Connecting Business and Government in the AAPI Community

Jiyoung Park discusses opportunities for small businesses to work with the federal government and reflects on a roundtable discussion with small business leaders in the AAPI community.

Recently, I participated in a small business roundtable with the Asian-American Pacific Islander community in Philadelphia. The event was co-hosted by the National Association of Asian American Professionals and the Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs, and we were joined by 40 small business owners for a lively discussion on how to do business with the Federal Government.

Part of our mission at the General Services Administration (GSA) is to make sure that small firms across the country have the opportunity to do business with the government, and we were able to pass on several strategies that small businesses can use to successfully compete in the Federal market.

First, FedBizOpps is an online tool to help businesses learn about upcoming opportunities with the government. Small businesses can use this tool to preview what the government is looking to buy in the near future. GSA also posts a Forecast of Contracting Opportunities, informing vendors of anticipated contracts offered by GSA for the current fiscal year.

Another strategy that small businesses can use to break in to the Federal market is sub-contracting, partnering and teaming. Many small businesses find that with no previous track record with Federal Government contracts, it is hard to get their foot in the door. By joining forces with a more experienced vendor, small businesses can increase their capacity and experience. GSA's Sub-Contracting Directory lists large business prime contractors who are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small business firms.

Finally, GSA's Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to encourage and motivate GSA prime contractors to assist small businesses and enhance their capability of performing successfully on GSA contracts and subcontracts. The program is intended to foster the establishment of long-term relationships between small businesses and GSA prime contractors and increase the overall number of small businesses that receive GSA prime contract and subcontract awards. To date there are over 90 Mentor Protégé agreements in place.

Jiyoung Park is the Associate Administrator of the Office of Small Business Utilization in the U.S. General Services Administration.