For years Hispanic contractors have complained about the low levels of federal buying I our community. For years the federal government has listened to these concerns – and done little.
Part of the problem is governmental denials that a problem exists. Federal agencies don't track their procurement expenses by ethnicity, so it's impossible to know how much agencies spend with Hispanic companies. At MED Week this year, I proposed a new tracking mechanism to get some real numbers behind the budget. The Commerce Department's Minority Business development Agency (MBDA) is currently considering the proposal.
Hispanic Business plans to publish a special "Government Accountability Report" next year. A report card on how specific agencies fare in their spending with minority-owned companies will move the debate past rhetoric and onto the balance sheets of minority entrepreneurs.
What else can entrepreneurs do to increase Hispanic participation in the federal marketplace? First, they should market themselves in an assertive, consistent, and intelligent manner. The Hispanic Business Magazine Federal resource Guide 2002-2003 edition can help jump-start this process. The contacts in the procurement section provide a window into federal buying. Of course, competition is fierce for federal dollars, but the changing needs of the government since September 11, coupled with programs such as General Services Administration schedules and the Small Business Administration's PRO-Net, lower the barriers to entry for the small-business owner. Even if you don't see federal work as your primary business, it makes sense to enter the market for marginal revenue growth.
|OSDBU 2002 Directory|
|SBA Government Procurement Office Directory 2002|
|Federal File: Procurement News|
|HEPM 2002 Directory|
|Federal File: Recruitment News|
To help bring CEOs and procurement officials together, Hispanic Business has created RedWire, an online database of Hispanic-owned companies. RedWire works like this: Companies create their own profiles via the RedWire template and add them to the database. Then when procurement officials, either from Corporate America or the public sector, seek a Hispanic-owned firm, they can search the database by geography, name, or keyword. Registration is free for Hispanic-owned firms. To join RedWire, go to www.HispanicBusiness.com/RedWire.
Through efforts to obtain information, market to federal agencies, and participate via RedWire in the Internet economy, CEOs build up more than their own bottom line. They raise the Hispanic profile and make the government more accountable to us, the people.
Editor & Publisher