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Government contracting can offer a secure income stream to a some small businesses. However, the complexity of the bidding process is a significant deterrent for those who can't hire specialists to cut through the red tape. Now there is a solution for small technology businesses—RFP-EZ Marketplace, an online platform hosted by the Small Business Administration.
Initially launched last winter as a pilot project, an enhanced Marketplace pilot has just been reopened for new bids. The enhancements simplified the bidding process even further, streamlined the listing process and provided additional types of projects. Projects can be posted in the following areas:
The Marketplace is designed exclusively for small projects: The opportunities must be $150,000 or less.
There is no requirement to register with the Marketplace in order to view available projects. If you see a project that seems to fit your business, the next step is to register with the Marketplace. Registration is simple and straightforward, unlike the process required to bid on larger projects. You will provide basic company information, but have the opportunity to showcase your capabilities through a 50-word description of your business, links to your website and images of your work.
Once your profile is created, you will have the option to make a bid online or to ask for additional information regarding the project requirements. The Marketplace also provides access to stock text that will help you to respond to the solicitation using the terminology the contracting officers in the agency expect to see. You will also be able to save drafts of your proposal--a tremendous help if you realize you need to gather additional information or run different cost scenarios before completing your bid.
At present, there are an extremely limited number of projects available on the Marketplace. However, the SBA is aggressively promoting use of the platform by government agencies and expects the number to increase. Therefore, registering with the Marketplace and electing to receive email updates about new projects makes sense for any small technology company who is looking for government contracting opportunities.