Overlooked opportunities

How to benefit from federal programs targeted at small businesses

Although roofing contractors often perform work on local government buildings, schools, libraries and other public buildings, many contractors are unaware of the opportunities and benefits the federal government offers to companies with less than $13 million in annual receipts.

For example, in fiscal year 2004, the federal government awarded nearly $70 billion in contracts to promote the growth of small businesses. More than $10 billion went to small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), which are small businesses owned by minorities.

This year, more than 1,000 SDB roofing companies are poised to take advantage of this resource, and there is room for many more to do so. Even roofing companies that do not qualify as small businesses may benefit from these awards—numerous contract opportunities are available for large firms that enter into joint ventures with small firms or volunteer to act as mentors to such companies.

The federal government, under the Small Business Act, is determined to promote the growth of small and/or disadvantaged businesses by setting goals for awarding federal contracts. Presently, the government seeks to meet the following goals in awarding federal contracts: 23 percent of prime contracts to small businesses; 5 percent of prime contracts and subcontracts to women-owned small businesses; 5 percent of prime contracts and subcontracts to SDBs; 3 percent of prime contracts and subcontracts to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses; and 3 percent of prime contracts to HUBZone businesses (those in historically underused business zones).

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