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SBA’S Federal Procurement Assistance

Small businesses seeking to market their goods and services to the federal government must register at the CCR site, but they no longer need to manually register at the Central Contracting Registration (CCR), Dynamic Small Business Search, and Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA).

Please note that if you are interested in receiving Small Business Disadvantaged, HUB Zone or 8(a) certification, you will need to apply on line at www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sdb/index.html. Attend a free workshop in Denver or learn more about the programs before applying. Contact the district Office.

HUB Zone Empowerment Contracting Program

This program encourages economic development in historically underutilized business zones – “HUBZones” – through the establishment of federal contract award preferences for small businesses located in such areas. After determining eligibility, the SBA lists qualified businesses in the CCR database. See SBA’s home page located at www.sba.gov/hubzone.

Small Disadvantaged Business Program (SDB)

SBA certifies SDBs to make them eligible for special bidding benefits. Evaluation credits avail- able to prime contractors boost subcontracting opportunities for SDBs. Under federal procurement regulations, the SBA certifies SDBs for participation in federal procurements aimed at overcoming the effects of discrimination. SBA certifies small businesses that meet specific social, economic, ownership, and control eligibility criteria. Once certified, the firm is added to an online registry of SDB-certified firms maintained in PRO-Net. Certified firms remain on the list for three years. Contracting officers and large business prime contractors may search this online registry for potential suppliers. See SBA’s home page at www.sba.gov/sdb/.

8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) program assists the development of small firms owned and operated by individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. By extending government contract preferences and other business development support, it helps these firms gain access to the economic mainstream. Typically a small business must have been in operation for at least two years before applying to this program. Contact the SBA’s Colorado District Office for more information.

Product Bar Codes

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a system for uniquely identifying the thousands of different suppliers and millions of different items that are warehoused, sold, delivered and billed throughout retail and commercial channels of distribution. It provides an accurate, efficient and economical means of controlling the flow of goods through the use of an all-numeric product identification system. UPC initially came into being to serve the grocery industry and facilitate the automatic capture of product identification at supermarket checkout stands by means of laser scanners. Successful implementation of the UPC system with its many benefits has resulted in its adoption by mass merchandise, department and specialty stores, as well as industrial and commercial sectors of the economy.

The UPC consists of three parts: a unique six digit identification number assigned to your company, a five digit product number which you assign to each of your products and a single twelfth digit check number. A unique number should be as- signed to each product and each product size. For example, two different flavors of fruit jam in two different sizes will require four product numbers. Duplicating UPC numbers will create chaos for you and your retailers! The Uniform Code Council (UCC) is the central management and information center for manufacturers, distributors and retailers participating in the UPC system. This organization is NOT a government agency; it is a private trade council that develops standard product and shipping container codes, controls and issues company identification codes, provides detailed information and coordinates the efforts of all participants. While membership in the UCC is voluntary, you must join to obtain a UPC identification number for your business. Small businesses that desire to sell their products to large retailers should give serious consideration to joining the Uniform Code Council. For more information, contact the Uniform Code Council, Inc. at 7887 Washington Village Dr., Ste. 300, Dayton, Ohio 45459, or visit www.gs1us.org/.

Credit Cards

Your customers will frequently desire to make their purchases using major credit cards. Credit card processing is usually done through a commercial bank. Banks collect a fee, usually a small percentage of the sale, for processing credit card receipts. Chambers of commerce and professional trade associations (see partial listing below) offer assistance to their members in establishing credit card processing accounts. As a new business, you should be aware that many banks have a standing policy requiring businesses to be in operation for one or more years before opening credit card processing accounts.

Some of the trade associations that assist members in obtaining credit card processing include:

  • Colorado Retail Council
    www.coloradoretail.org
  • Colorado Restaurant Association
    www.coloradorestaurant.com
  • Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association
    www.coloradolodging.com
  • Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association
    www.rmfia.org

This is not a complete list. The “Encyclopedia of Assocations,” found in many local public libraries, lists almost all national and Colorado trade associations.