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Government contracting made easy
Jan 04, 2013 | 3827 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City of Sparks partners with the Small Business Administration for a workshop discussing how to do business in Sparks. The workshop takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Washoe County Complex.
The City of Sparks partners with the Small Business Administration for a workshop discussing how to do business in Sparks. The workshop takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Washoe County Complex.
SPARKS -- The City of Sparks and the U.S. Small Business Administration have joined forces to offer local businesses a comprehensive workshop to help them understand, navigate and apply for government contracting jobs. The workshop attempts to put an end to the age-old ‘government never listens to me’ complaint.

City of Sparks Contracts and Risk Manager Dan Marran will be present during an open workshop Thursday afternoon aiding businesses in attracting government agencies to their products and, in turn, learning to market themselves in a more efficient manner. Marran said the workshop will help remove some of the “mystery” of how to sell to government agencies.

“The hope of this session, and hopefully other sessions and environments in the future, is to be able to have a sit down and explain how things work,” Marran said Friday. “Unfortunately, what has happened in this community and others is many small business owners feel they never have a chance or are never given an opportunity for those government contracts.”

Marran said because the process may seem daunting or confusing many businesses do not understand that government agencies can be an important entity to them, no matter the size of the business.

“The truth is the government is going to be their fairest possible customer out there because there are rules that are involved on how it is we spend money,” he said. “The hope of this seminar is to explain to them how those rules work and how best to position or market themselves so that they can go into not just the City of Sparks but to Washoe County, Washoe County School District or City of Reno.

“Truth be told everyone likes talking about their job, and that is what this is about. It is me explaining how it is I do my job so that someone looking to sell goods or services to the city can be given that opportunity.”

Marran has participated in similar workshops and programs in past jobs and said when the Small Business Administration (SBA) approached him it was an easy fit. Judith Hepburn, of the SBA, said its plan to reach out to government entities such as the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Department of Agriculture, to find out what services they may be interested in, is all part of the SBA’s plan to bring more jobs to the state.

“We really feel that contracting is another source of revenue for small businesses. Of course, bringing federal dollars to Nevada means jobs for Nevada,” Hepburn said. “In addition to reaching out to (government agencies) we reach out to the prime contractors for those guys who need sub-contractors because that is often a way for small businesses to get started in the contracting circles.”

Hepburn said the Nevada Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) in Carson City is another important federal partner in helping create contracts at the city, county, state and federal levels. She said the SBA coordinates monthly contracting workshops with entities such as the Regional Transportation Commission, Nevada Department of Transportation and Washoe County School District, helping provide several perspectives to the contracting process.

“The purpose really is so people can find out who the contracting team is,” she said. “They can talk to them face to face, give them their business card, find out how to get on a vendor list, what their process is, and I always tell people, bring their bid opportunities and tell people where to find you.”

Hepburn said as the City of Sparks discovers a need for contracting bids in a certain area, the SBA will be there to help supply workshops and businesses to help.

“If the city has specific needs, we can certainly put together a workshop and reach out to whatever types of businesses they want to get face to face with,” Hepburn said.

Marran said if citizens are unable to attend the workshop, or similar ones in the future, the "door is always open" cliche can provide any information business owners seek.

The Contracting Workshop takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Washoe County Government Center, Building ‘C’, conference room. The Washoe County complex is located at 1001 East Ninth St. in Reno.

For more information on contracting with the City of Sparks, contact Dan Marran at 353-2273. For more information about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s services contact Judith Hepburn at 775-827-4923 or contact Steve Yates at the PTAC at 775-687-9921.
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