Debbie Swindell, assistant director with the Office of Small Business Programs, told Hinesville Rotarians how small businesses can go about contracting their services with Fort Stewart. Swindell was Tuesday’s guest speaker for the Hinesville Rotary Club.
She urged small business owners to take advantage of Liberty County’s HUBZone (historically underutilized business zones) designation. This program helps small businesses in cities and rural areas “gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities,” according to www.sba.gov.
“For Liberty County it’s the whole county,” Swindell said. “So take advantage of that. It’s a golden ticket.”
She explained other preferential categories small businesses could fall under, such as 8(a), which is defined as a small company owned and operated at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged people. She mentioned veteran-owned businesses, service-disabled-owned businesses and women-owned companies as other categories that also can receive preference by the installation’s Office of Small Business Programs.
“Eighty-five percent of all our jobs go to small business,” Swindell said. “Anything the city of Savannah or Hinesville needs, Fort Stewart needs. Fort Stewart is also a small city.”
She said Fort Stewart does a lot of renovation, repair and maintenance on its buildings, and would contract out for those types of small-scale construction services.
Swindell said of the $147,248,617 Fort Stewart spent in total business dollars, more than $125,000 or 85 percent of it went to small businesses in fiscal year 2010.
“You have to be willing to invest a lot of time and effort,” in the bidding process, she told Rotarians.
Swindell said small business owners must do their research when marketing their services to the federal government. She suggested business owners check out federal business opportunities at www.fbo.gov, and look for procurement opportunities of more than $25,000. She said government buyers can publicize their business opportunities by posting information to FedBizOpps online.
“Do your research, find out what Fort Stewart is buying,” Swindell said.
For more information, visit http://web.sba.gov/subnet, www.georgiasbdc.org, www.vetbiz.gov, www.gtpac.org or www.score.org/index.html.