Virtual Accelerator Program (VAP)

The Rainmaker Virtual Accelerator Program or VAP is a unique methodology that allows small business firms to expedite the following:

  • Your understanding of the Public Sector-Government contracting space
  • Your quick, efficient, and proper entry into the Government (Public Sector) Marketplace – become a qualified government contractor
  • Success in government contracting – Win Government Contracts

Registering to do Business with the Government

To be a federal government contractor and eligible to win a federal contract, your firm must be registered with and/or be approved by a number of government agencies including, but not limited to, the following:

  • If you do not already have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), you must register for one – this is your permanent tax number.
  • You need to locate the appropriate, primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes for your business and identify secondary NAICS Codes for work you perform and/or products, equipment, or supplies your provide – this may be a greatly expanded list from what you currently use.
  • Your must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which is required in order to register with the federal government for contracts and grants.
  • Your need to obtain a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code, which is a standardized facility code.
  • Your must register with the following:
    • System for Award Management (SAM), the government-wide vendor registration. This is required for all prime contractors as well as companies that are tier one subcontractors (those working directly for a prime contractor).
    • Small Business Administration to ensure you secure all socioeconomic benefits for which your firm qualifies – review the SBA socioeconomic categories as noted below; qualified businesses in these categories gain a number of advantages in contracting.

Socio-Economic and Business/Employee Location Set-Asides

Many contracts specify that small businesses must do a certain amount of the work or are set aside entirely for small businesses. Contract opportunities can be found on SAM.gov. Contracts and pre-notification opportunities can be found on GovWin IQ’s market intelligence platform. The SBA offers a number of programs to help small businesses win some of these federal government contracts. Below are several of the most commonly used programs:

  • Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically-Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) – the government aims to award at least 5% of federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses every year.
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) – The government aims to award at least 5% of federal contracting dollars to SDVOSB firms every year.
  • 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business (8(a)/SDB) – the government aims to award at least 13% of federal contracting dollars in FY 2024 to qualified small, disadvantaged businesses every year. This percentage will gradually increase until it reaches 15%.
  • Historically Underutilized Zone Small Business (HUBZone) – the government aims to award at least 3% of federal contracting dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses every year. A HUBZone is a historically underutilized business zone where the government is looking to foster economic activity such as job creation. Of the small business programs, it is the only program not focused on the ownership of the business, but rather on the location of the business and its employees.
  • All Small Mentor-Protégé Program – small businesses can get valuable business development help from an experienced government contractor through the mentor-protégé program.

Steps to Ensure Success

Now that you have registered to do business with the federal government, you understand how to find government contracts, and you are prepared to meet the rules and regulations associated with federal procurement, you might be wondering – what comes next? How do you win government bids and RFPs? And how do you stand out from the crowd of government contractors?

Regardless of which products or services you offer, you will need to execute on a few key concepts to succeed in establishing a pipeline of government sales revenue:

  • Bringing a clear set of capabilities to the market that will set you apart from your competition
  • Developing relationships with a set of customers and partners that need the capabilities you offer
  • Establishing a contracting strategy to meet those customers through contract vehicles that they prefer
  • Leveraging the rules of the government market in ways that can give your company a competitive advantage

The businesses that master these concepts and succeed in the federal contracting market are using market intelligence to achieve their business goals. They benefit by gaining awareness of upcoming opportunities well before the solicitation is released, access to deep and broad analysis of the federal market, and knowledge of federal agencies, such as their spending tendencies and key contacts