If you’re a business owner of Hispanic descent, or a woman, or a U.S. veteran, you might not have thought of that part of your identity as a bonus to your business. But it can be, if you’re doing business with the U.S. government.
That’s why so many Hispanic-Americans, women and military veterans go after government contracts, to help get their businesses established or to give them a boost up to the next level.
The U.S. government designates a significant portion of its contract dollars for small business contractors. Whatever the government project may be, it gets the job done while injecting some needed cash into an important component of the American economy.
Moreover, a part of the overall budget for small business contracts is targeted specifically at businesses owned by Latino-Americans and other minorities, as well as women-owned and veteran-owned businesses.
A federal contract is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as “any agreement between a department or agency of the Federal Government and any person for the purchase, sale, or use of goods or services.”
For the Hispanic business person looking to boost business, a minority contract could prove beneficial. Below, Latin Business Today provides a step-by-step guide on how to get ready to apply for a federal minority contract, or for any federal contract.
Register Your Business
Even if you’re not planning to compete for a federal contract, it is important to register your business.
“Registering a business involves filing paperwork with the government to obtain certificates, licenses and permits in order to legally operate. Business registration encompasses everything from obtaining a tax ID and naming your business to applying for local business licenses,” according to the U.S. Small Business Association.
The registration process includes filling out an entry for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database, the official U.S. federal government registry. All businesses that operate in the U.S. register using the same process.
If you are a Hispanic business owner, you may identify your business as minority-owned in your CCR application.
Once your business is registered, you have the option of competing for federal contracts. Currently, the federal government sets aside about $500 billion for federal contracts, according to the U.S. General Services Administration. Approximately 23 percent of those federal contract dollars is targeted for small businesses, while 5 percent is targeted for disadvantaged businesses.
The government also offers contract opportunities for businesses with particular designations, primarily businesses owned by women, by members of minority groups or by military veterans.
In order to be considered for a minority contract, a Hispanic business owner must also obtain a certificate recognizing this designation, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Once you are certified by the government as a minority-owned business type, you are eligible to apply for a minority contract.
Although there is no formal way to apply for minority business certification, it is possible to register a business through a non-government organization or certification agency. These groups often offer additional benefits, like networking events, training programs and business fairs to help Hispanics and other minority business owners expand trade.
Below are some useful links to help get you started:
For more information:
To register and certify your business:
- Registering your business with the SBA
- Getting certification as a minority business
- Small business certifications
Minority Business organizations:
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA): The MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.“ Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- National Minority Supplier Development Council: “Provides a link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses.”