Get Ready to Make Some MORE Connections

Back in November I wrote about a couple of upcoming small business matchmaking events in our area. The NH event was a big success as it always is. But we’re getting closer to a major New England event and its right here in Maine; the 2019 New England Regional Matchmaker. It was last in Maine three years ago. This time it will be on April 25 and 26 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland.

For those of you that didn’t see my earlier article, a small business matchmaker is best described as speed dating for businesses. Picture a large room filled with dozens of tables. On one side of each table is a government agency or a large prime contractor. Then picture small businesses coming to each table and getting 10-15 minutes to make a connection. Now imagine that with breakout training classes as well. SB Matchmakers provide access to a wealth of buyers and planners for you all in one place, providing lots of opportunities to promote your business.

The Portland event will have a half day of small business training, a networking reception and a full day of small business matchmaking. It is s a joint effort between Maine PTAC, NH PTAC and the New England SBA. And its endorsed by the DoD Northeast Regional Council. We’re hoping to have over 400 in attendance. Registration is now open and with the early bird registration it is only $50 per person for small businesses for both days. Just visit the 2019 New England Region Matchmaker website. If you have any questions, please reach out to Erin Severance at or your local PTAC Counselor. I hope to see you there!
Ken Bloch
Maine PTAC Program Manager
2019 New England Region Matchmaker
Are you interested in selling your goods or services to the government?

Join us on April 25th and 26th in Portland Maine and build long lasting relationships through networking, training, and one-on-one meetings.

This is your opportunity to meet:
  • Federal/state agencies
  • Prime contractors
  • Small businesses
Learn more and register by visiting the 2019 New England Region Matchmaker website .
Federal/State Agencies
Small Businesses
$50 Early Bird / $75 Regular
Prime Contractors
Upcoming Events
Date: Wednesday, February 20th
Time: 8:30am - 10:00am
Location: EMDC, Bangor
Register: Click here
Date: Tuesday, March 5th
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Location: SCEC, Machias
Register: Click here
Date: Thursday, March 21st
Time: 8:30am - 10:00am
Location: EMDC, Bangor
Register: Click here
What Does that Mean?

While working with the Federal government, businesses must learn to navigate the acronyms and numbers that each agency or department adopts. This can be hard for many small businesses, where employees are asked to wear many hats. Therefore, contacting Maine PTAC, who keeps up to date with the entire new and old lingo, are a great resource to ask… “What does that mean?”

Below is a quick guide to the more commonly known Federal government-wide language:

  • FSG – Federal Supply Group – A two digit number assigned to a general group of products in the federal supply system. (The 1st two digits of a FSC)
  • FSC – Federal Supply Code – A four digit number assigned to a specific subgroup of products within a Federal Supply Group. (The 1st four digits of a NSN)
  • NSN – National Stock Number – A 13 digit number assigned to a single unique specific product which is purchased often enough to justify assignment of an NSN from a recent solicitation.
  • Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) Number – A prerequisite to getting registered to do business with the government. A DUNS Number will be assigned at no cost to you.
  • CAGE Code - Commercial and Government Entity - A unique 5 digit alpha-numeric code assigned to each government and commercial organization doing business with the Department of Defense is assigned as a function of the System for Award Management (SAM) registration.
  • NAICS Code - North American Industrial Classification System - A six digit code that is replacing the SIC Code, developed jointly by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to provide new comparability in statistics about business activity across North America.

If you or another business needs assistance with government contracting and understanding something, contact your local PTAC Counselor.
Contracting with State and Local Agencies

When most business owners imagine government contracting they typically think Federal contracting. It makes sense. The Federal government is a huge consumer of goods and services, and capital improvements. However, business owners may be missing an opportunity by forgoing State and local agencies, which also spent tens of billions on the public’s behalf!

Consider that California’s GNP has now surpassed the United Kingdom’s and is the fifth largest in the world. Maine is not California… but the point here is not to overlook state or local government.

There are hundreds of local government agencies in the State of Maine; ranging from towns, cities and counties, to special districts, public utilities, and education institutions. And there are hundreds more in northern New England alone. Federal and State-funded projects often require these agencies to meet aggressive small business contract and subcontract award targets.

While this gives you lots of opportunities, it is impossible for a small business to monitor the State of Maine and each of these local agencies for opportunities. It just takes too much time. The solution is that Maine PTAC affords our clients access to a proven (FREE) service in BidMatch. Working with the client, Maine PTAC staff will develop a profile (based upon the products and/or services that you sell), using key words and descriptive information. BidMatch accesses nearly 1,600 Federal, State, and local agencies, channeling solicitations to appropriate profiles. As a result, clients can quickly review a summary or synopsis.

If you’ve not already signed up for BidMatch, I encourage you to do so! For more information, please reach out to your local PTAC Counselor.
The Groundhog Says Early Spring

February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, which means we will have an early spring. I’m not sure that this is really the case BUT Spring is coming. Why is that important? Because that means that we will start seeing the bid requests from many municipalities and the State of Maine any time. I know that many of us are still thinking about snow and how long that is going to last but we need to be ready. The spring means that we will be seeing not only mowing and landscaping projects but also road work and construction projects. So, if you do any of those things, you need to look at your schedules and be prepared to get your proposals and bids ready.  I’m sure when these start coming out, you will want to be working closely with your PTAC counselor. If you have any questions, as always contact your PTAC counselor and we will be happy to help.
Planning... the Key to Your Success

There is an old saying that states: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Webster defines plan as ‘a scheme or program for doing something’. Government contracting is the ‘something’ that could just change your businesses bottom line, but to be successful you need to plan. Planning includes market research, a look at your strengths and weaknesses, your products and services, your capabilities as well as identifying government opportunities. You need to determine what is needed to do business with certain agencies such as registrations, certifications and past performance requirements. Successful government contractors, whether federal, state or local award winners, are constantly planning and evaluating for future opportunities. 

The recent Super Bowl against the New England Patriots and the LA Rams was considered ‘boring’ by many. Most fans wanted to see multiple scoring opportunities by both teams. But looking at it from another perspective, this was one of the best games ever played because you can see the planning by the opposing defenses that went into this chess match. How do you best take away the unbelievable success of each high scoring offense in order to gain the upper hand and ultimately the win. One team had a better plan. They did their homework, researched all aspects of their opponent and executed a scheme or program for doing something… winning the championship game… again.

Let Maine PTAC assist you as you develop a plan…your key to success. We can assist with market research, developing a capability statement and identifying government opportunities including registrations, certifications and performance requirements. And so much more. It is what we do.