The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has a wide range of resources and training for small businesses. This includes training videos, a small business glossary, and educational brochures. In addition, you can also find various advocacy support resources to help you succeed.
OSDBU manages the DOE’s Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) to help increase participation and maximize opportunities for small businesses to work with the Department. This program operates separately from the Small Business Administration’s Mentor Protégé Program (All Small MPP). The DOE’s MPP seeks to foster long-term business relationships between small businesses and DOE prime contractors, and to increase the overall number of small businesses that receive DOE prime contracts and subcontracts. Watch this video to learn about the background, benefits, and how to participate in the program.
Small Business Administration (SBA) and Regional Offices
The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business which provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses. SBA employs Procurement Center Representative (PCRs) to assist small businesses in obtaining federal contracts. Also, take advantage of the SBA’s Learning Center to take courses on contracting terms, on how the government buys, on how to sell to the government, and offers guidance specifically for small business concerns.
The SBA works with several local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide free counseling and training to help small business owners start, grow, and expand their business. SCORE consists of volunteer business counselors, advisors, and mentors who offer individual free counseling throughout the U.S. and its territories. The Veteran's Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. Women's Business Centers (WBCs) provide free to low cost counseling and training and focus on women who want to start, grow, and expand their small business. Further resources include the SBA's Community Navigator Pilot Program, focusing resources on underserved communities, and Regional Innovation Clusters, networking businesses and other organizations that work together to maximize their localities’ strengths and resources, allowing them to compete on a larger scale.
The Small Business Administration maintains the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. When a small business registers in the System for Award Management (SAM), there is an opportunity to fill out a small business profile that automatically populates DSBS. DSBS is another tool contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. Small businesses can also use DSBS to identify other small businesses for teaming and joint venturing.
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs)
The OSDBU team actively participates in collaboration and cooperation with the 94 PTACs and over 300 local offices. This nationwide network of dedicated procurement professionals helps local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. Authorized by Congress and Administered by the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), PTACs provide free or low cost/subsidized support to local businesses looking to do business with the Federal Government. If you have not yet contracted with a federal agency, visit your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) where you can learn how to write proposals, develop contracting planning tools, and get introduced to relevant opportunities in your line of work.
General Services Administration (GSA)
GSA provides centralized procurement for the Federal Government, offering billions of dollars’ worth of products, services, and facilities that federal agencies need to serve the public. GSA Schedules (also called Federal Supply Schedules or FSS) are multiple-award contract tools often used by federal agencies to acquire services. The Federal Government can buy cost-effective, innovative solutions through Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) for information technology requirements, such as: systems design, software engineering information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions. All GSA GWACs are designated as Best-in-Class contract solutions and small business set-aside GWACs also provide socioeconomic credit within Category Management. Best-in-Class means that something has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a preferred government-wide solution to:
- Allow acquisition experts to take advantage of pre-vetted, government-wide contract solutions;
- Support a government-wide migration to solutions that are mature and market-proven;
- Assist in the optimization of spend, within the government-wide category management framework; and
- Increase the transactional data available for agency level and government-wide analysis of buying behavior.
Download the government-wide Category Management Best-in-Class Guide to learn more about Spend Under Management (SUM) goals.
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a subordinate agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets and grow, can access business experts at their local MBDA Business Centers to acquire help with securing capital, competing for a contract, identifying a strategic partner or becoming export-ready.
For a government-wide guidance on inventors rights please see the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) overview.
Remember, you are not alone. There are many resources to help you take your business to the next level and provide necessary advice and support. The table below provides useful links to other Advocacy Support Groups to help you and your business:
To help you learn how to do business with the Department, we have created a Companion PDF which includes links to various resources for small businesses described in Doing Business with DOE: 101 video. Please take advantage of the resources summarized in a one-page reference document below to help you become successful in the contracting environment.
Please review the electronic versions of educational brochures below.