UACES Facebook Public Sector: A New Market Segment for Many Arkansas Businesses
CED Blog

Public Sector: A New Market Segment for Many Arkansas Businesses

by Mark Peterson - January 8, 2018

The federal government is the largest buyer of products and services in the market, said Mary Love, procurement counselor with the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, a unit within the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 

The federal government purchases $436 billion per year, with 23% of all projects set aside for small businesses, 5% for women owned businesses, 5% for small disadvantaged businesses (SDB and 8(a)), and not less than 3% to service disabled veteran owned small business and certified HUBZone small business.

Speaking at the annual Industry Days Forum in North Little Rock sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Love identified these key opportunities for Arkansas businesses:

  • Most businesses in Arkansas would qualify as small businesses, so they would not be competing against larger businesses;
  • Many Arkansas businesses fit in the other categories, which would further narrow their competition;
  • Large companies often subcontract out much of their work, which provides additional opportunities;
  • Small projects for less than $25,000 are often awarded on a no-bid basis, but you must inform the government agencies of your capabilities;
  • A new mentor – protégé program is now available, which can support a small business that is partnering with a large business, perhaps to seek a contract that the larger business cannot qualify for by itself.

APAC provides a computerized bid-matching service to its registered clients via e-mail that searches about 3,000 various websites with public sector funding opportunities. Based on a keyword profile developed for each client that specifically describes the business' goods and/or services, it conducts daily searches to find the RFQ's (Requests for Quote) or RFP's (Requests for Proposal) from various federal, state, and local procurement sites. Those RFQ's and RFP's that are specific to the business are then e-mailed daily to the client. This service is contracted through Comtech Management Systems.

The APAC website also has a link to the Arkansas Office of State Procurement page and Arkansas Bid Network, which provide additional opportunities for Arkansas businesses. The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center is available to assist businesses in learning how to sell their products and services to the government, and can be reached at: apac@uaex.edu and 501-671-2390.

Green and white APAC graphic