When it comes to government contracts, New Jersey offers a variety of resources to help small companies take advantage of these important opportunities.
From training and technical assistance, to e-mail notification of requests for proposal (RFPs), the state has a number of valuable programs for small companies to access essential information and be better positioned to compete for government contracts.
The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) set-aside program was established with a target of awarding 25 percent of state contracts and purchase order dollars to registered small businesses. To be eligible, businesses must register for the special designation. The Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services provides online registration and fee payment services at https://www.njportal.com/DOR/SBERegistry.
The New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) offers free procurement training programs through individual web conferencing sessions and a variety of workshops and webinars. NJSBDC offices are located throughout the state. More information can be found at http://www.njsbdc.com/procurement-programs.
Business owners who are interested in marketing their products or services to federal, state and local government agencies may find a valuable resource in the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). PTAC (see sidebar) provides contractual and technical assistance to established New Jersey small businesses. The Center operates under a cost-sharing cooperative agreement between the Department of Defense and the New Jersey Institute of Technology and offers all services free of charge. More information can be found at http://www.njit.edu/ptac/.
To help streamline the procurement process, the State Division of Purchase and Property has recently introduced an online self-service website: “State of the Art Requisition Technology” (NJSTART). NJSTART centralizes the procurement process from RFP notification to contract payment, providing a repository for necessary documents while reducing red tape. The vendor portal at www.NJSTART.gov is open for registration and is on track for implementation in November of this year. For assistance with registration, contact the Vendor Administration Help Desk at 609-341-3500 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses also can access information on contract opportunities through Choose NJ’s RFP Watch. RFP Watch tracks requests for information (RFIs) and requests for quotations (RFQs) from more than 30,000 sources, giving subscribers access to information on opportunities throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. For more information, visit https://rfpwatch.choosenj.com/.
For any questions related to these programs, contact the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC) at 866-534-7789. Our small business advocates can connect companies with the appropriate resources tailored to meet their needs. More information is also available on the state’s business portal: www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov.
By Dolcey Chaplin, Esq. Director, NJIT PTAC
In the 1980s, Congress authorized the Procurement Technical Assistance Program to help small businesses in their quest to obtain government contracts. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) was funded at the inception of the program and has grown to a client base of almost 3,000 with the reputation as one, if not the top, center in the nation.
The Center assists firms in navigating a vast territory full of certification requirements, regulations and other unique business challenges that require a tailored solution dependent on the firm’s product, service and goals.
In-depth expertise is provided via NJIT government contract specialists who can answer your concerns – free of charge on issues such as: registering online in System for Award Management (SAM); the rules on contracts that are set-aside for small businesses to bid; proprietary rights; protest issues; disputes, certification assistance for women, disadvantaged individuals and veterans or companies that are located in a distressed (HUBZone) area; and Federal Acquisition Regulations/ITAR compliance.
Government contracts include subcontracting to large businesses that contract with the government (primes). Additionally, a solid record of performance is indispensable in obtaining future work.
New Jersey is the home of many large pharmaceutical companies, as well as other Department of Defense prime contractors. These companies have requested assistance from the PTAC in finding Veteran/Service Disabled Veteran-owned Small Businesses to fulfill their contractual requirements with the government (Small Business Plans). NJIT PTAC has not only referred clients to them, but remains the only viable resource in New Jersey to assist veterans with federal verification. Without assistance, 6,000 veteran verification applications were rejected in 2012. With NJIT PTAC’s assistance, the veteran’s approval “win” rate is 100 percent.
It is important for small businesses to have the patience necessary to preview the landscape (via the center’s free bid-matching services). They can use the Center’s tools/counseling to determine the best strategy to enter this market.
For information on the PTAC at NJIT, please call (973) 596-5807.Related Articles: