While there are many state and federal contracts available for Louisiana-owned small businesses, securing those contracts will require work and research by the business owner. There are several agencies available to assist in this process, including the LSBDC at McNeese.Procurement Technical Assistance Center
(PTAC) - PTAC was established to generate employment and improve the general economy of Louisiana by assisting business firms in obtaining and performing under the US Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state and local government contracts. They provide free specialized and profession assistance to individuals and businesses wanting to learn about actively seeking or currently performing under contracts and subcontracts with these agencies. PTAC assists the US Department of Defense as well as federal, state and local governmental agencies with identification of small businesses that are eligible for government contract work.
The PTAC representative for Southwest Louisiana can be reached for an appointment by phoning their Lafayette office at (337) 482-6422 or (800) 206-3545. For further information on their services, check out their website at http://www.la-ptac.orgCentral Contractor Registration
(CCR) - The Central Contractor Registration is a database designed to hold information relevant to federal government procurement and financial transactions. CCR affords you the opportunity for fast electronic payment of your invoices from your governmental contracts. You must be registered in CCR to be awarded a contract from the Department of Defense and other certain federal agencies. There is NO CHARGE to register.
You must have a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) number to register in the CCR system. The D-U-N-S number is a unique nine digit identification number for each physical location of your business. It helps identify businesses around the world; the global database contains more than 110 million business records from 190 countries. The number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts.
The D-U-N-S number can be requested by going to their website at http://www.dnb.com
. Generally, within one day you will have your D&B number and can then proceed to register in the CCR database.
A business must also have its NAICS classification number. This is the North American Industry Classification System code for your product or service. Detailed information regarding NAICS can be found on the SBA website https://eweb1.sba.gov/naics/dsp_naicssearch2.cfm
To register in CCR, go to the website at http://www.ccr.gov
.Small Business Innovative Research
(SBIR)- The objective of the SBIR Program is to stimulate technological innovations in the private sector while strengthening the role of small businesses in meeting federal research and development needs. This method of providing small businesses with opportunities to compete for federal research and development awards has also effectively stimulated commercialization of the resulting technology to the benefit of both private and public sectors.
There are eleven agencies of the federal government that participate in the SBIR Program: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The SBIR Grant Program is divided into two phases. The Phase I grant supports technical feasibility studies. Phase II provides financial assistance for Phase I projects to enter the development stage to the point of commercialization. Businesses are encouraged to pursue Phase III-commercialization-through other sources, as SBIR does not provide funding for expansion, marketing, and application of the developed technology.
These grant funds are not applicable to all small business ventures. The program is limited to entrepreneurs or businesses developing innovative products and processes. Individuals need to consider several factors when entering the SBIR program:
- Historically less than 15% of all Phase I proposals are funded and about 30% of Phase II.
- Preparing a competitive Phase I SBIR proposal takes time, energy, and in some cases, money.
- Most agencies accept proposals only once a year and the Phase I review process can take months.
- The real pay off is in Phase III if the business can commercialize the research results. Phase I and II funding helps develop the product but the company generally does not make much money on these two phases. A sound and well financed commercialization plan is critical to success in the SBIR program.
*The program does not fund market research, marketing activities, or minor improvement to existing products.
For more information on the SBIR program, check out their website at http://www.sba.gov/sbir
. The LSBDC at McNeese can assist you in understanding this funding opportunity and in preparing for these proposals.