General Business

Earn Govt. Contracts: Get Certified!

Business certifications can give a company access to a wide range of lucrative projects through government contracting opportunities. Many private-sector companies have also designed designated supplier diversity programs that may require business certifications. Here, we will explore different certifications and the associated local, state, or federal government contracting opportunities available for businesses.

Example Certifications

Small Business programs include the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, which helps small, disadvantaged businesses, and the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) certification, which promotes economic development in underutilized areas.

Minority- and Women-Owned Business: Promotes diversity and inclusivity in government contracting. Examples include the minority business enterprise (MBE), women-owned enterprise (WBE), minority and women-owned enterprise (MWBE) and women-owned small business (WOSB) certifications.

Veteran- and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned: For veterans or service-disabled veterans, The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has veteran-owned (VOB), veteran-owned small business (VOSB), disabled veteran-owned (DVOB) and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) certifications.

  • Must be a for-profit entity in good standing.
  • File a state registration certificate (NJ is currently waiving its $100 fee).
  • Have an employee identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
  • Submit an NJ-REG form with current annual reporting.
  • Review eligibility – some certifications require only 51% ownership for the category, others require 51% ownership and over 51% of all duties within the business.
  • Register on – the NJ Uniform Certification Service portal.
  • Receive a first-year provisional certificate, then apply for five-year recertification.

Government agencies often have “set-aside” programs that mandate percentages of contracts exclusively for small businesses or specific certifications. In New Jersey, 25% of all state contracts go to certified small businesses and 3% to disabled veteran-owned businesses. The federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services. It mandates 5% for 8(a), 3% for HUB, 5% for women-owned and 3% for veteran-owned businesses. The General Services Administration (GSA) manages the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), which streamlines the procurement process for various agencies.

Once certified, you should register your company at SAM.GOV to apply, search and bid for federal contracts, and use NJSTART.GOV for state contracts. Counties and local municipalities will post bids publicly, so you should also search their websites for these postings. Additionally, subcontracting opportunities may be available when larger contractors or “prime” contractors seek to outsource portions of a project.

For help on certification and procurement, contact your local NJSBDC office, such as the one at FDU, which offers no-cost consulting services.

About the Author: Pierre Balthazard, Ph.D., is Dean of the Silberman College of Business at FDU.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: