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Selling to the Government

Federal, State and Local Governments offer small businesses a great business opportunities. Whether in manufacturing, construction, services, technology or R&D, the Government purchases everything from furniture to tanks – from tree planting to socks. Each level of Government follows their particular process to purchase. Businesses should become familiar with the procedures used by a particular Government entity then determine if and how they can best compete. The Federal government spends over $400 billion for goods and services per year. As of FY2007 statistics, Wisconsin ranks 34th in winning federal procurement awards totaling over $4 billion, won by our State’s 4,500 federal contractors. The Federal procurement process directs purchases to be set aside for small business and businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals (8A-SDB), women (WOB), service disabled veterans (SDVOB), veterans (VOB), and businesses located in areas of high unemployment and low income (HUBZone).


The State of Wisconsin also buys a wide range of goods and services from facility construction and operations to IT and laundry services. Products and services are purchased through the Bureau of Procurement, facility operations and construction are purchased through the Division of State Facilities, and road/bridge work is contracted through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The State of Wisconsin does not have small business set asides, but does have a minority owned and woman owned certification program. Each state operates under its own procedures, rules and processes. Contacts to other state purchasing offices are available at


Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI) is a non-profit organization established 20 years ago by Wisconsin’s Congressman Les Aspin. Its mission is to assist Wisconsin companies with Government contracting – helping firms successfully enter and develop their Government market segment. Through events, seminars and conferences (including “Wisconsin in Washington” an annual Washington D.C. conference, Bridging the Gap to Washington, and the Governor’s Awards for Federal Contracting awarded at the B2Gconnect Conference), WPI helps businesses throughout the State. As the hosts of national and regional federal conferences WPI brings new opportunities directly to our communities. WPI work with large, small, well-established, and newly created businesses in the areas of manufacturing, technology, construction, research, IT and services. WPI works closely with Federal, State and Local small business programs to maximize the opportunities for disadvantaged, minority, woman, disabled and veteran owned firms as well as those located in designated HUBzone and distressed areas.
WPI has developed a state of the art web portal that brings Wisconsin companies into the government contracting community. This website provides online information and education, as well as offers a daily bid matching service to Wisconsin businesses and organizations.


VendorNet: The State of Wisconsin’s VendorNet system provides easy access to a wide variety of information of interest to vendors who wish to provide goods and services to the state as well as state agencies and municipalities. Bidding and the time required to identify new vendors is minimized while vendors are automatically notified of opportunities in their area of interest. The VendorNet system does not include construction and related work. Information on construction opportunities is available from the Division of State Facilities.  The VendorNet system also does not include road and highway work.
Information on these opportunities is available at


US Small Business Administration  The US SBA administers a number of Federal small business contracting programs as well as the SBIR/STTR Programs. Small business participation is required in the federal contracting process – both at the federal agency and prime contractor levels. Currently 23% of all goods and services purchased by the Federal government are required to be purchased from small businesses.


Wisconsin Security Research Consortium (WSRC) WSRC will help lead companies through the process of applying for federal grants and seeking federal contracts. WSRC will spearhead efforts to apply for grants to conduct classified or sensitive research in areas where the federal government has identified a need. Those areas include biodiesel, rapid response, engineering physics, composite materials, water and food security, biometrics, vaccines, biosensors and more. Check with your county and local municipalities for other opportunities.


Related links:

  •  Wisconsin Minority Business certification program
  • E-Business
  • Milwaukee County Procurement The Procurement Division is empowered by Chapter 32 of the Milwaukee County Ordinances to purchase or contract for supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services needed by County departments, agencies and institutions. This authority does not include public works programs, repairs or alterations to buildings, structures, or leases of County-owned real estate and appurtenances which are administered by the Department of Public Works.
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District  MMSD is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million customers in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area. We serve 411 square miles that cover all, or segments of six watersheds.
  • Racine County Procurement  The Purchasing department serves as the principle value saver and negotiator for the procurement of most goods, services and equipment obtained for Racine County departments. In addition, the department writes, edits and evaluates bid specifications; sets up vendor demonstrations for County staff to meet the vendors and evaluate products; and reinforces the concept of centralized practices and procedures for making purchases in accordance with the County’s Procurement Ordinance.
  • Waukesha County Procurement  Purchasing is responsible for directing and coordinating the procurement of equipment, supplies and services required by Waukesha County. Program activities include developing, drafting, negotiating and administering County contracts, and/or making recommendations to users on type or availability and costs (considering benefits, effectiveness and efficiency) of equipment, supplies and services.
  • Kenosha County  The Purchasing Division is an administrative support service for the County of Kenosha. The function of this division is to acquire the many products, commodities and services required by County departments and divisions to operate in the best interests of the citizens of this community.
  • Washington County  Purchasing is responsible for providing supervision, coordination, and monitoring the purchasing functions of the County. The department monitors the County’s centralized purchasing system to ensure quality goods and price advantage and conformance to the County’s Purchasing Code.

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