Government vs. Corporate Contracting

In this economy, businesses need not put all of their eggs in one basket.  They should seek public government contracts and private deals.  There are set asides in government contracts for small businesses, woman owned businesses, veteran owned businesses, and minority owned socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.  In order to be eligible, these businesses have to get registered and certified.  Businesses that do not meet these categories can team with businesses that do in order to take advantage of set asides.

I worked in government for more than 25 years and began the business development journey in 2005.  I have met thousands of business owners.  One topic that seems to confuse some business owners is whether their government business registrations and certifications can be used in corporate contracting.  Well, no.  Corporations have supplier diversity programs and look for Women Business Enterprise (WBE) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certifications which differ from those in federal, state, county and city programs.

Government Contracting

Federal Contracting – No cost to get started!

Step 1) If 51% woman owned, begin to use Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Small Business (SB) designations for marketing purposes. Put on your website, business cards, brochures, etc now!
 These merely require self-certification.
 A goal of setting aside 5% of government contracts to WOSB is underway.
 There are bid opportunities currently being set aside for SB’s.
 Check your small business status with the Small Business Administration using your North American Industry Classification System (NAICs) codes, annual receipts, and number of employees. Visit:
 Determine your NAICs codes at :
 Military agencies use Federal Supplier Codes (FSC) and Product Service Codes (PSCs). Determine your FSCs and PSCs at:
Step 2) Complete the
Central Contractor’s Registration (CCR) at
Step 3) Be sure to complete the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Dynamic Small Business Registration
 You will be prompted to enter this registration process at the conclusion of completing the CCR registration.
Step 4) Consider the SBA 8a certification program.
 But, bare in mind that few WOSB owned by Caucasians get certified.
 You must prove both a social and an economical disadvantage.
 Certain races are presumed to be socially disadvantaged (Black American, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian Pacific American, Subcontinent Asian American).
 Must be in business for 2 years
 The net worth of the individual claiming disadvantage must be less than $250,000.
Step 5) Consider getting prequalified with the General Service Administration (GSA) by submitting a GSA schedule contract proposal to the GSA for the products and services that you sell.

Step 6) Check if your business is located in a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) zone.
 Visit to find out if you are in a hub zone.
 If so, apply for HUB Zone certification and be eligible for Hubzone set-asides
Step 7) If your business is 51% owned by a veteran or service disabled veteran, you may be eligible for Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) or Service Disable Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certification.
o Visit
o Self Certify or get Verified (preferred)
State Contracting
Note: There are no set asides in Georgia other than the US Department of Transportation federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program with the Georgia Department of Transportation and MARTA

Step 1) States use the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) product and service codes. Determine your NIGP codes at:

Step 2) Complete vendor registration applications for any city and county that you want to do business in. In Georgia, it is the Team Georgia Marketplace registration:

Local Government Contracting (Counties, Cities)
Step 1) Complete vendor registration applications for any city and county that you want to do business in.
Step 2) Complete small business certification applications for any city and county that you want to do business in. The designations are Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Female Business Enterprise (FBE), Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). In Georgia, there are programs at:
 City of Atlanta
 Atlanta Public Schools
 City of Roswell
 City of Savannah
 City of Augusta
 Fulton County
 DeKalb County
 Cobb County

Corporate Contracting

Corporate Certifications – Fee based

Step 1) If 51% woman owned, submit a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) application with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
 Visit
 The application fee is $350
 They will conduct a site visit
 It typically takes 30-90 days
Step 2) If 51% minority owned, submit a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) application with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) at a state chapter of your choice.
 The application fee is $500 in Georgia (GMSDC)
 They will conduct a site visit
 It typically takes 30-90 days

I urge businesses to get a Strategic Marketing Plan to determine which agencies buy what they sell; which certifications and registrations to pursue; and to find teaming partners.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at


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