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Federal government has opportunities for small businesses

SOUTH POINT – Do you own a small business? Looking for an opportunity?<!—->.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

SOUTH POINT – Do you own a small business? Looking for an opportunity?

Then, like military recruiters, the federal government wants you – it wants you to get involved with procurement.

Procurement is what federal agencies do each year when they spend more than $190 billion on goods and/or services, and they are purchasing a large portion from small businesses, experts say.

The Navy may need a lot of mops, and they don’t make them for themselves, for example, said Kelly Lawhorn, director of the Procurement Outreach Center in Lawrence County.

The outreach center, which is part of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, exists to identify business firms that are qualified to sell such goods and services to the Department of Defense (DoD), other federal agencies, and state government programs.

This process can result in a stimulation of the economy which leads to economic growth and creation of jobs, Ms. Lawhorn said.

To help small businesses, the LEDC Procurement Outreach Center can provide free specialized services that meet specific business needs.

Some of the services include: Bid Match Services, Certified Contracting Registration (CCR), Contract and Referral Services, Contracting Fundamentals, Electronic Commerce Assistance, Federal Acquisition Regulations, Marketing Plan, Training and Marketing Workshops, and others.

One of the most important services, according to the centers Web site at www.lawrencecountyohio.org is counseling.

Counseling can help a business acquire the necessary registration with various government agencies, and develop a marketing plan that identifies government agencies who buy your products and/or services, for example.

Another service, the Commerce Business Daily (CDB), is a daily listing of all upcoming contracts from the federal government over $25,000. The LEDC Procurement Outreach Center matches your company’s products and/or services to solicitations in the CDB.

Other electronic networks that put businesses in touch with contracts are also available at the outreach center – located in the Chamber of Commerce office in South Point, 740-377-4550.

Also, on Oct. 1, the U.S. General Services Administration designated the Web site (www.fedbizopps.gov) as the central electronic portal to provide public access for finding government procurement opportunities that exceed $25,000.

Actually, the Web site and its listings will eventually replace the Commerce Business Daily, and has been endorsed by 29 federal agencies.

For help or information, contact the LEDC’s Procurement Outreach Center, or try the FedBizOpps helpline at 1-877-472-3779.