How Are Set-Asides Helping U.S. Small Businesses?

BidPrime News May 30, 2017

In my role as Client Services Director, I come in contact with numerous small business owners, from a variety of industries, each with their own unique story. Due to those conversations, I have gained an understanding and respect for how hard countless people are working to succeed. Frequently, these businesses are thriving despite some long odds.

Can everyone use a helping hand from time to time? As small businesses, from across the U.S., scrap and claw to compete, there are instances where some help is warranted, appropriate, and appreciated. U.S. governments are the leading customer in the world, so it stands to reason that small businesses should have the opportunity to earn a portion of the many $billions spent by governments each year. On that note, government agencies have developed and implemented set-aside programs to assist small businesses in securing federal contracts.

Gaining a deep understanding the problems that customers face is how you build products that provide value and grow. It all starts with a conversation. You have to let go of your assumptions so you can listen with an open mind and understand what’s actually important to them. That way you can build something that makes their life better. Something they actually want to buy.

As when you decided to start your small business, and as it pertains to set-asides, there are details to consider and due diligence for you to conduct. Reference their website, the U.S. Small Business Administration establishes that there are many different types of set-asides. Some are open to all small businesses; others are open only to small businesses with certain designations. First, do you qualify, is your business categorized as a business with one of the “certain designations”?

  • Women-Owned Small Businesses
  • 8(a) Business Development Program
  • HUBZone Program
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business
  • Small Disadvantaged Business

Not sure if you qualify?

The U.S. Small Business Administration has made it relatively easy for you. Visit, and become familiar with, the following website. It is a treasure trove of invaluable information, suggestions, and how tos.

U.S. Small Business Administration (info on set-asides)

Still not sure what to do?

We are unrelenting supporters of the services provided by the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Get this! As a taxpayer, you are already paying for their services, whether you consult them, or not. There are close to 300 APTAC offices in the U.S., with one likely near you and your business.


Is pursuing government contracts right for every business? No, regardless if a small or large business. However, I would suggest that taking the time to find out could be a game changer for you and your business. Each day, I witness the successes of many of our small business clients who are winning government contracts.

As with each of your current and potential non-public sector customers, it’s important to know who needs what and getting in early in the process is important. As you see below, I quickly researched our database and identified a minuscule sample of the myriad of bid requests / solicitations categorized as set-asides. On those notes, I asked Stephen Hetzel, one of our Co-Founders and Operations Officer, for his thoughts…

“One of the many benefits of our bid search technology is we are able to identify opportunities specific to qualified WOSB, HubZone, 8(a), and SDVOSB businesses. Everyone already understands that timeframes are shrinking and timing is critical. Usually, the set-aside solicitations are ultra competitive and why we ensure our clients continue to be the first to find out about them.”

Stephen’s above assessment is accurate. Our small business clients appreciate finding out about opportunities early in the process. Who doesn’t want 2-3 extra days to prepare a bid response? Also, we’re the bid service solution which provides the bid documents, thereby saving our small business clients $100’s per year. Our small business clients prefer to invest that money elsewhere.

For more info on set-asides, the applicable bids/RFPs, and associated documents, please call us at 1.888.808.5356, or visit BidPrime.

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