The last couple of months before the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30 provide opportunities for vendors, including small businesses. Spending often accelerates as agencies work to disburse their allotted budgets prior to the fiscal year close.

Lourdes Martin-Rosa offers her views, below, on federal contracting opportunities for small business. Martin-Rosa is American Express OPEN Advisor for Government Contracting.

The end of this fiscal year will be different from others due to the changing of the administration.  As the top seven federal agencies report to the White House each month on their small business goals, each agency is carefully positioning their expenditures to meet their annual small business goals. The agencies hope their numbers will look good for the new administration.

If you'd like to know how each agency is performing in its efforts to meet its small business goals, visit this site: smallbusiness.data.gov.  This website which was developed in 2010, enables the public to view each agency's small business goals and performance.

As the fiscal year comes to an end (Sept. 30th), small business government contractors should attend events hosted by individual agency's "Industry Days." This is an agency's attempt to find small businesses to contract with. Search on each agency’s website and you'll find where and when their particular Industry Days will take place. For example: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Industry Days are posted here.

You can start by searching on FedBizOpps (FBO.gov). This site lets you search more than 32,100 active federal contract opportunities. Most of the contracts being released in the final quarter of the year are designated for small business, 8(a), Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), HUBZone and/or Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).  Remember, if you don't meet a particular certification, team up with a qualified firm that is certified.

In addition, the new U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Limitations on Subcontracting Rule, which took effect on June 30th, will boost teaming opportunities for small business government contractors. By allowing "similarly situated entities" to team together, this new rule broadens teaming potentials through shared resources. The SBA defines "Similarly Situated entities" as follows:

Similarly, situated entity is a subcontractor that has the same small business program status as the prime contractor. This means that for a HUBZone requirement, a subcontractor that is a qualified HUBZone small business concern; for a small business set-aside, partial set-aside, or reserve a subcontractor that is a small business concern; for a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) requirement, a subcontractor that is a self-certified SDVO Small Business Concern (SBC); for an 8(a) requirement, a subcontractor that is an 8(a) certified Program Participant; for a WOSB or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) contract, a subcontractor that has complied with the requirements of part 127. In addition to sharing the same small business program status as the prime contractor, a similarly situated entity must also be small for the NAICS code that the prime contractor assigned to the subcontract the subcontractor will perform.

American Express OPEN is where people can discover insights, make connections and get exposure to help them grow their businesses. The organization’s Facebook page lets people tap into the collective ingenuity of other business owners as they discuss and share ways of doing business.

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