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Government Contracting – An Important Driver of Growth for Small Businesses

Uncle Sam wants to hire your small businessThe federal government is by far the biggest purchaser of goods and services in the United States. That means that government contracting can be unbelievably lucrative for small businesses - if they know about it and know where to go.

In 2010, small businesses received $98 billion in government contracting opportunities – including $34.4 billion to small disadvantaged businesses, $17.5 billion to women-owned small businesses and $10.79 billion to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

But despite these enticing numbers, many small businesses are staying on the sidelines and missing their fair share – the government's "set-asides" for small business are never completely fulfilled. This means that money that could go to small businesses gets left on the table every year or given to much larger companies.

To help small businesses claim their full share, American Express OPEN is hosting free events around the country in which business owners can meet government procurement officers and see what's available and how to bid on government contracts.

Upcoming events are:

  • In Los Angeles on September 21, American Express OPEN is hosting a day-long event geared towards business owners new to government contracting, as well as those currently doing business with local, state and/or federal government. Active contractors will have direct access to government buyers and contract opportunities via buyer/seller meetings. Some of the topics explored in detail include getting on the GSA Schedule, creating a powerful capabilities statement and leveraging certifications for a competitive edge. A similar event will be held in Dallas on October 18. You can register in advance at or even walk-in and see what's going on.
  • In Phoenix on October 6, American Express OPEN is partnering with Business Matchmaking to bring a free workshop on how teaming can be an effective strategy to gain experience and win more contracts. A 2010 American Express OPEN survey found that small business owners who employ teaming win 50% more contracts. Interested business owners can register at

Every kind of small business that's willing to try can probably sell something to the government. That's why it's important for small business to learn how to do business with the government. And it's not all about federal contracting - local and state governments also put out contracts and many of them have goals of their own to do some portion of their business with smaller companies. These are first-rate opportunities that any entrepreneur looking for new business would be crazy to miss.

For more information on government contracting as an important avenue of growth for small businesses, visit

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