U.S. Federal Government Offers Big Opportunities for Small Business

Esri Program Gives Small Businesses a Competitive Edge 
For small businesses wanting to expand their footprint in the U.S. federal market, the time to grow is now. In fiscal year 2014, the federal government spent a whopping $91.7 billion on small business contracts, exceeding its goal of awarding 23% of contracting dollars to small businesses. Moreover, some federal agencies have adopted a small-business-first policy, vetting requirements with small businesses before going to the open market. Several Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) vehicles are set aside for small businesses, including the upcoming GSA Alliant 2 SB GWAC request for proposal expected later this summer. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) just announced the awardees of a $25 billion ceiling contract called the Strategic Partners Acquisition Readiness Contract (SPARC) Program, which will reserve task orders under $29 million for small businesses.
As the small business movement continues to grow and government looks for new ways to support the community, federal agencies are also working to attract non-traditional contractors, such as startups at the forefront of innovation. In fact, some agencies are going to great lengths to work more closely with startups by opening new offices in Silicon Valley.
Why the foray into more small business and startup territory? Agencies are looking for innovation, agile development, and new ways to quickly procure emerging technology and solutions.

One such example is GEOINT Solutions Marketplace (GSM),  an online information exchange that allows contracting businesses, government, and academic institutions to find and contribute new data, tools, techniques, ideas, and applications to overcome geospatial intelligence challenges. By not requiring a security clearance to participate, GSM breaks the traditional barrier of entry that can prevent some solution providers from working with intelligence community agencies. In many federal agencies, Government App Stores are now equipping and connecting internal federal agency departments with innovative technology. All of this translates to more opportunities for small businesses to innovative solutions with Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology.
At Esri, we understand the value that small business partners bring to our federal customer base through offerings that complement, extend, and develop on top of the ArcGIS Platform. That is why we launched the Esri Federal Small Business Specialty in February 2016, which has quickly grown to include more than 50 participating partners.
The timing and market conditions couldn’t be better for Esri and its small business partners to work together to accomplish our federal government customers’ critical missions. Esri’s user community will have the chance to see many of our small business partners’ work and offerings at the upcoming Esri User Conference, June 27-July 1 in San Diego. A User Conference agenda specific to small business can be found here.
Stay in the know about Esri’s small business community and events on Twitter at @EsriFederalGov, #EsriFedSB, and @heatherlwhitney.

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