Florida APEX Accelerator Transition FAQs
What does this change mean for small businesses?
Over the next year, we will be rebranding to the Florida APEX Accelerator. Our mission to help small businesses research and bid on federal, state and local government contracts remains the same.
The transition will expand our service offering and resources to help more small businesses become capable of securing contracts with the DoD, other federal agencies, and state and local governments.
The transition will also enable us to offer training and awareness on cybersecurity, risks of foreign ownership, control and influence, intellectual property protection, and government-led innovation programs.
Why the change?
Small businesses play an integral role in our country’s defense mission. Despite this, small business participation in the defense industrial base has declined by over forty percent in the last decade. Through this transition, the DoD – and APEXs nationally – are committed to reducing barriers and streamline efforts to make it easier for businesses to work with the DoD.
What’s the relationship between SBDC and APEX?
Our relationship will remain the same. We are proud of the close, collaborative relationship between the SBDC and APEX. In most cases, our SBDC and APEX teams work in the same offices and closely together. We see this close relationship as a value-add for clients by providing the opportunity for our teams to collaborate more closely to serve the needs of our clients.
Is there a cost for APEX services?
No, thanks to funding made possible by the DoD, state, and local partners our services are offered at no-cost to businesses.
What’s the impact of the program to the state?
The Florida APEX Accelerator program plays an important role in the state. The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, and every year, contracts are available to businesses at the local, state, and federal level.
Last year, the Florida APEX Accelerator program served 1,387 new clients, resulting in 25,919 jobs supported and helping businesses secure $246 million in government contracts.
Where can I go to learn more?
For more information, and to sign up for updates, please visit www.FLAPEX.org.
Government Contracting FAQs
Florida APEX Accelerator (formerly Procurement Technical Assistance Center – PTAC)
Do you have questions about government contracting? Wondering who the government purchases from? Is government contracting right for your business? Not sure where to look, how to start, or who to contact? We can help you find the answers needed to succeed.
We highly recommend that you make an appointment with the government contracting consultant at your closest center to receive individualized assistance for your business.
Who does the federal government purchase from?
The federal government purchases from business of all sizes, located throughout the country, for all types of services – from professional services to commodities. Look for opportunities that you are interested in and see what company was awarded the last contract and the terms – you can search www.usaspending.gov or www.fbo.gov for recent awards.
Who am I competing with locally?
You can find out which local small businesses in your industry have registered to be able to sell to the government at the System for Award Management (SAM) website. https://www.sam.gov
What are some of the steps for applying for and securing a contract?
- Get a DUNS number
- Find your NAICS codes and Product Service Codes
- Register with the System for Award Management (SAM)
- Work with a Procurement Specialist
- Search bids
- Go after opportunities
- Seek sub-contracting or partnering opportunities
- Build relationships
- Attend classes and networking opportunities
- It is ok to start with a smaller contract than you would prefer. It will build past performance.
- Take reasonable steps. If you are at $50,000 in sales, don’t take on a $300,000 contract unless you are partnering with someone or have done it before in another capacity.
- Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Remember past performance is important. You can also run out of cash.
How do I leverage my business for competitive bids?
- Be prepared – know if what you offer is publicly bid and when it is expected to go out next.
- Know your competition and the needs of the agency.
- Know HOW the bid usually goes out. If it is narrow in scope (say only X manufacturer), let the contracting officer know the value of competitive products with a proven history. If they want the same scope, see if you can create new relationships before the bid goes out.
What can I do to help promote my business?
- When talking to someone who can make referrals, make sure the person you are talking to understands what your business does and who would be interested in it (don’t assume they will know).
- Work with the person you are talking with to determine if you offer a product or service that is being purchased within their dollar thresholds. Keep in mind there are often publicly bid contracts for frequent purchases.
- If you have existing contracts with other agencies – BRING A COPY!! If you have other customers that show you can perform – share a list of customers/completed projects. Your past successes will help you.
- Identify the agency’s process for accessing the individuals you want to promote to and provide your information in a clear format that clearly describes your capabilities.
I applied for a contract and was not successful. Now what do I do?
- Always request a debriefing.
- Ask who won the contract.
- Ask how you can improve for the next opportunity.
- Ask about what future opportunities will be available.
- If you feel there are opportunities with that agency for small purchases with companies like yours and you feel your contact was not interested in your business, identify if cold calling purchasing/departments would be appropriate. You can often find these contacts by doing creative searches on their websites or calling the general number on their website.
- Build relationships (support their goals; don’t do pressure sales).
- If all else fails, review your marketing plan.