Virginia-Based Association Has Eye on Government Prize

Small firms comprise National Association of Certified Government Business Enterprises.

As the largest buyer of goods and services worldwide, U.S. government agencies spend billions each year with companies that make and do almost everything – from toilet paper and computer parts to engineering services and management consulting.

But despite the wealth of opportunities to work for Uncle Sam, the toughest task for small companies is, often, winning the contract. This may be especially true for small firms whose owners come from historically disadvantaged groups – such as women, minorities, or military veterans – and who traditionally have fewer resources to spend on business development.

These few facts are what inspired the creation of the National Association of Certified Government Business Enterprises (NACGBE). Established in March 2003, the Virginia-based organization represents, so far, more than 45 member companies, most of which have been certified by the U.S. government as Small Disadvantaged Businesses and are enrolled in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program. Other members are Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB).

NACGBE’s goal is to promote 8(a) and SDVOB companies as a vital part of all government contracting activities. By joining together, our member companies can pool resources to learn about new opportunities in the public sector. We can share expertise with new 8(a) companies that are learning how to navigate government maze. And we can lobby more effectively as a group.”

As certified businesses in the SBA’s 8(a) program, NACGBE members already receive SBA business development guidance, but the purpose of NACGBE is to allow such companies the ability to share experiences and maximize their resources.

Learning from a peer on your own level can be a very powerful business tool.

This interaction between members can be critical to helping fellow Entrepreneurs learn some finer, firsthand points about issues such as preparing contract proposals, pricing services and products accurately, pursuing subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors on government projects, and identifying likely government customers for a company’s particular services.

Because government regulations require U.S. agencies to include, when possible, a certain percentage of small disadvantaged businesses – such as the 8(a) company members in NACGBE – NACGBE also closely monitors the contracting goals of various government departments.

If a federal agency is falling short of its goal for including 8(a) companies in contracts, NACGBE wants to watch that closely, especially if we think we can help connect that agency with one of ours.

Currently, NACGBE members meet monthly in Richmond, Virginia to discuss a variety of issues and to plan collaborative events that allow members to network with government representatives and contracting specialists.

The association’s membership represents a variety of industries and specialties including engineering, logistics planning, professional development, information technology, personnel staffing, media systems networking, and interior design.

We’re not all in the same industry, but as a network, we can keep a watch out for opportunities that may benefit other NACGBE members, even if they don’t apply directly to our own companies.

Each year, the group has sponsored one-day public contracting workshop, bringing together NACGBE member companies, state, local and federal government leadership and procurement officers for roundtable discussions and networking sessions.

In the meantime, NACGBE officers and members have their sights set on building a larger network of peers – especially beyond Virginia. In that path NACGBE has become a Coalition Partner of WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy).

We represent just a handful of the 8(a) and SDVOB companies in the U.S. As we gain more member companies from across the country, we hope to gain a stronger voice in contracting and more opportunity for everyone.
P.O. Box 2347
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 343-7400