Small businesses have the opportunity to utilize various support programs offered within the government to assist in creating potential relationships with government clients. The following support programs encourage technological advancement and the development of relationships with large businesses that have defense contracting experience. Support programs for small businesses include the Mentor-Protégé Program, the Small Business Innovation Research & Technology Programs and various Training Opportunities.
Valuable Technical and Managerial Support
These initiatives are designed to help small businesses engage the Air Force, and they provide technical and managerial support to foster innovation and help the Air Force meet mission requirements:
- Mentor Protégé Program
- Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer Programs
Additionally, if you need help registering your business and identifying opportunities with the Air Force, please review the resources below about how you can:
- Identify Your Product or Service
- Register Your Business
- Identify Opportunities
Identify Your Product or Service
It is essential to know the Federal Supply Class or Service (FSC/SVC) codes and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes for your products or services – please review those web resources for additional information.
Register Your Business
Obtain a DUNS Number
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is a unique nine-character contractor identification code used by the federal government for all procurement-related activities. If you do not have a DUNS Number, contact Dun and Bradstreet to obtain one or call the government-dedicated, DUNS Number self-request line at 866-705-5711. DUNS Number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the U.S. Federal government for contracts or grants.
Register with Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
You must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system to be awarded a contract from the Department of Defense (DoD). CCR is a database designed to hold information relevant to DoD procurement and financial transactions. CCR also enables fast electronic payment of your invoices. For more information, please read the CCR Handbook. Government contracting officers, contract specialists and other acquisition personnel use the CCR, as well as the CCR's "Dynamic Small Business Search" tool, to identify small businesses for potential prime and subcontracting opportunities.
Complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA)
In addition to CCR, all government contractors must complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA). ORCA is an e-Government initiative that enables you to enter your representations and certifications information only once for use on all federal contracts with online applications.
There are many resources available to search for U.S. Air Force contracting opportunities online, or to help present your products and services to Air Force customers. The Long Range Acquisition Estimate (LRAE) on this website consolidates anticipated procurements from U.S. Air Force Major Operational Commands and their direct reporting units. Small businesses can use this resource early in the acquisition process to identify upcoming procurements and improve the timeliness, responsiveness and success rates of their proposals. Other resources for identifying opportunities include:
Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) Portal
FedBizOpps is a single website where commercial vendors and government buyers can post, search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community. For an index of Air Force-specific opportunities on FedBizOpps, please click here.
General Services Administration Schedules Program
Many DoD purchases are ordered through the General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules Program – also referred to as Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) or Multiple Award Schedules (MAS). This program establishes long-term, government-wide contracts that allow customers to acquire a vast array of products, supplies and services directly from commercial suppliers. To learn about becoming a GSA Schedule contractor, please click here.
EMALL is the DoD equivalent of a dot.com mega-store with over 40,000 DoD registered customers. To learn how to become an EMALL supplier or vendor, please click here.
Subcontracting Opportunities with DoD Major Prime Contractors
Investigate potential subcontracting opportunities and explore teaming options with major prime contractors that provide products and services to DoD. For a list of major prime contractors, please click here. For the Small Business Association subcontracting opportunities directory, please click here.
Federal Grants and Research Funding Small businesses are eligible for many discretionary grants funded by government and military organizations. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offer significant funding for research and development with military and commercial applications. In addition, proposals for research grants are solicited using Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) posted on the websites of individual commands and bases.