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GSA supports local small businesses at 'Cracking the Code' event in San Mateo

By Scott Nielsen

San Mateo County Community College Chancellor Ron Galatolo

San Mateo County Community College Chancellor Ron Galatolo welcomes participants to the
small business event in July. The event focused on helping small businesses to contract with the
federal government.

Local small businesses from around the San Francisco Bay Area attended a workshop recently at the College of San Mateo to learn how to do business with the federal government.

Representatives from GSA, the Northern California Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and local companies with experience selling to government agencies shared their expertise on doing business with the government.

Rep. Jackie Speier sponsored the event – dubbed “Cracking the Code: Small Business Access to Federal Government Contracting Opportunities" – to encourage more small businesses to contract with the government.

“Doing business with the federal government can seem daunting, but it’s a tremendous opportunity for local businesses,” said Speier. “The government spends some $90 billion a year buying products from small businesses. This event is designed to help business owners crack the code and get a slice of that pie.”

Attendees learned how to register in SAM (System for Award Management), received free one-on-one counseling to explore where their niche may be in the federal marketplace through PTACs, and walked through the entire process of obtaining a GSA Schedules contract.

The workshop included live demonstrations on how to use different tools including GSA Forecasts, the Subcontracting Directory, and the Vendor Toolbox. The GSA presenter also demonstrated how to use GSA Advantage!®, the online shopping and ordering system, to search for products and services.

“This event was well organized. It provided encouragement as well as a functional blueprint for small business owners to better position themselves within the federal marketplace,” said Liz Belenis, Federal Acquisition Service, Supervisory Customer Service Director. “Each speaker provided thoughtful, useful information and insights on best practices for small businesses to capture more federal dollars.”

“Many people came up to me and said that before this event, the entire GSA Schedules process seemed overwhelming,” said Belenis. “The information shared through the event broke the process into segments they were able to understand, and participants became aware of how much support and hands-on resources are available to them through the PTAC, SBA and GSA.”

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