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9 Small Business Trends for 2012

3. Government contracting opportunities will increase.
A new year will bring increased opportunities in government contracting, according to Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express (AXP) OPEN's adviser on government contracting.

Small businesses can look for federal business opportunities at www.fbo.gov.

And while there is continued uncertainty around the federal budget, given the failure of Congress' supercommittee, there is plenty of opportunity for niche businesses, Martin-Rosa says.

First, "green" government contractors and women-owned small businesses may have an edge next year. At least 95% of the government's acquisitions are required to be green and sustainable, Martin-Rosa says, citing an executive order.

Earlier this year the government launched a program requiring that 5% of federal contracting dollars be awarded to businesses owned by women, including economically disadvantaged women.

There is also "tremendous" government contracting opportunities in construction, engineering and architecture, as well as a high demand for IT services, Martin-Rosa says.

Additionally, so-called Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts "can be a key enabler for growth since they provide for 'an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of time.' In other words, they offer repeat business without repeat efforts," Martin-Rosa says. "Last year, IDIQs represented approximately 30% of the federal procurement marketplace with more than $40 billion awarded through this vehicle. This trend will not only continue but deepen in 2012."

Among some of the best of these contracts is through the Department of Homeland Security's Firstsource II contract, which is coming up to bid in January.

"With an expected contract value of $3 billion set aside for small businesses, this contract is a must for firms in the information technology and related services industry," she says.

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