Online bid opportunities help entrepreneurs contract with state

Mark Randall’s boss–a disabled Vietnam Veteran–told the marketing director to scour the Web in search of ways to expand their small Emeryville-based digital-printing company.

Recently, Randall came across two tools on the state Department of General Service’s Web site that he hopes will lead to more public-sector business opportunities. The first tool is a free subscription service that allows his company, ScanArt, to receive e-mail alerts when bid opportunities for the printing industry arise.

The second tool allows ScanArt to post an ad offering their service as a subcontractor for specific projects. What Randall hopes is that a prime contractor who subscribes to the list will see the ad and partner with his company for their printing needs. Since ScanArt is both a state-certified small business and disabled veterans’ business enterprise (DVBE), this partnership could help a larger company get a leg up on the competition.

State agencies are required to dedicate 3 percent of all state contracting dollars to certified DVBEs, and 25 percent to certified small businesses, according to DGS. Companies that partner with small businesses and DVBE’s are given preference in state contracting.

Last week Randall started posting ads on the state’s online contract list. The list is officially called the California State Contract Register and it is the main way business connects to government, according to the DGS Web site. The CSCR lists services and construction contracts over $5,000,
commodity contracts over $50,000 and IT goods contracts over $100,000. Randall said that while daily e-mail alerts of new bidding opportunities from the list have proven an invaluable resource, so far he has not received much of a response from prime contractors to his ads. “I got an e-mail from a guy in Memphis Tennessee.

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