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SBA provides assistance to contracting offices to help small and disadvantaged firms obtain direct contracts. Many of SBA’s efforts in this area are made through procurement center representatives stationed in government contracting offices, although there is no such office at ED. They participate in the development of solicitations and recommend small business set-asides for contracts that fulfill set-aside criteria in the federal procurement regulations.

The SBA Office of Technology strengthens and expands the competitiveness of U. S. small high technology research and development businesses in the federal marketplace. It helps small businesses obtain contracts and provides access to new technology and technical assistance. Technology assistance officers in SBA regional offices carry out the program. They can help small businesses define problems, locate up-to-date technologies, and take advantage of new approaches identified in recent research and development efforts.

The SBA Office of Business Development operates a nationwide, toll-free telephone line for small businesses. The toll-free telephone number is (800) U-ASK-SBA (827-5722) in the continental United States (except Hawaii and Alaska). The Washington, D.C. Office of Advocacy can be reached on (202) 205-6533. The purpose of this service is to help small businesses cope with the complexities of government regulations and procedures. SBA relies upon small businesses for identifying burdensome or unnecessary regulations.

Department of Commerce - Minority Business Development Centers

The Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency provides assistance to the minority business community through one hundred business development centers across the country. These centers identify new business opportunities and assist minority entrepreneurs in marketing, managing, identifying new financial resources, and developing markets. For a nominal fee, minority business development centers provide technical assistance in such areas as accounting, inventory control, bid estimating, bonding, personnel management, and contract negotiations. Centers identify and promote minority-owned private investment firms and match these firms with new business opportunities in domestic and foreign markets. Each center maintains an inventory listing of minority entrepreneurs and firms with a profile of their capabilities.

General Services Administration Business Service Centers

The General Services Administration (GSA) offers other procurement opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. The small business owner can learn which items the GSA buys by writing or visiting the nearest GSA business service center. While these opportunities are not available exclusively to small disadvantaged business, they represent an important government resource that you should use. Interested business concerns should contact their local GSA regional or area office for more information.

Other Sources of Information

Many of the World Wide Web sites mentioned in this booklet, as well as much more information about ED and its programs, are accessible through the U.S. Department of Education’s home page at http://www.ed.gov.

Doing Business with the Department of Education

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