Small businesses contribute widely to the economic growth of the United States. In order to stimulate them to participate more in the Federal marketplace, the Government has created a socio-economic program called “Small Business set-asides program“. The program is part of SBA and directly deals with small business concerns. Every year, each federal agency must set a goal for participation in its contracts by various groups. They must acquire services or products from every category of set-asides.  Federal agencies set-aside contract opportunities exclusively for businesses that belong in one of the program’s categories.  Of course, to participate in the program small businesses must qualify in one of the categories including:

  • Women-Owned-Small-Business  

    • Service-Disabled-Veteran-Owned-Small-Business and Veteran-Owned-Small-Business  
    • 8 (a) Program
    • Historically-Underutilized-Business-Zone  
    • Small Disadvantaged Business

  • Mentor-protégé Program

How to exploit Set-Aside opportunities

After certification as a set aside of one of the groups above, you might want to enter the federal market. That was the reason for your certification, after all. The first thing you must do is identify the opportunity you want to pursue, and compete even amongst large established enterprises. Chances are that you’re not familiar with the proceedings you must complete in order to compete properly.  The best thing you can do to improve your winning potential, in this case, is to seek professional assistance. Find an experienced firm that provides professional proposal writing services to help you respond to the Federal RFP in a compelling way.

However, if you think you’re competent enough and decide to develop your solution by yourself, make sure to follow these simple tips:


Intelligence is the key to success. Start gathering information from various resources to assess your customer, your competition, and even your job performance capabilities. You should start your assessment process earlier than the RFP release. This way you’ll learn who you have to deal with, what you need to do to prepare our solution, who are your opponents and what can you use to differentiate your solution from them.


Planning is very important, too. Write down everything you need to do in every phase of proposal development. Assess every section of the RFP solicitation and develop your proposal against evaluation criteria.

Start writing

At this point, you’ve understood thoroughly what the Government is asking for, and should be able to give them the right solution.  Writing a Federal proposal is not easy.It requires extensive expertise and broad knowledge. Make sure to include all the elements needed to develop a winning proposal.