Source | Entrepreneur : By Anand Srinivasan
Governments across the world award contracts worth billions of dollars each year. Despite the obvious opportunities that exist here, launching and growing a B2G startup is not for the faint-hearted. For one, the tendering process can take several months to complete. This is not a happy position to be in for bootstrapped startups. Secondly, government agencies tend to favor businesses that have prior experience working on government projects. This is a catch-22 situation that startups have a tough time negotiating.
For this article, I talked to founders who run successful B2G businesses to understand how they got their first government contract. Here are a few takeaways from my discussions with them.
Register on all the relevant registries.
When a federal or state agency is hiring a new contractor for one of their upcoming projects, they post these opportunities on one of the dozens of government sites including FedBizOpps (for US federal projects) and the NYS Contract Reporter (for New York State).
As a B2G business, you may apply for inclusion on the registries maintained on each of these government websites. Agency users looking for new contractors begin their search on such registries. Being included here provides you with a much-needed advantage over competitors who are not listed. This is especially useful if you are a minority or woman-owned enterprise. Such businesses are favored by government agencies for certain projects, and being listed in the registry helps you stand out from the competition.
Like any client, government agencies prefer hiring a contractor with whom they have the highest chance of success. Prior experience on government projects can thus be a tremendous advantage while bidding on agency projects.
As a startup entity, you can work around this catch-22 situation by partnering with other contractors on their government projects. Subcontracting is extremely common in B2G projects. It’s easier to secure a subcontracting project than winning one directly from the government agency.