The SBA Answer Desk Hotline can provide pre-recorded messages regarding business opportunities in the federal government sector. The regional offices of the SBA can also provide such information. The Small Business Answer Desk number is: (800) 827-5722 or (202) 205-7701.

The Small Business Innovation Research Program administers a program among government agencies that provides grants to small businesses for innovation research and development. The Pre-Solicitation Announcement, published by the SBIR in March, June, September, and December, lists the needs of 11 federal agencies for R&D activities. For more information, contact:

Small Business Innovation Research Program
U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of Innovation, Research & Technology
409 Third Street, Mail Code 6470
Washington, DC 20416
(202) 205-6450

Each business day, the GPO releases the Commerce Business Daily ($275/year), a publication that provides a daily list of U.S. government procurement invitations, contract awards, subcontracting leads, sales of surplus property, and foreign business opportunities. Each edition contains 500 to 1,000 such notices and each notice appears in the CBD only once. Back issues are available in the public library, and a subscription may be obtained for six-month or one-year time periods. Information on rates and service may be obtained from: Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. Phone (202) 512-1800.

Another document that is available from the GPO is the U.S. Government Purchasing and Sales Directory .

Another helpful source is the General Services Administration. It handles the government's purchases, sales, and services. GSA Business Service Centers provide small businesses with information about contracting opportunities. Call the GSA for the Phone number of the nearest Business Service Center:

General Services Administration
18th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20405
(202) 708-5804


Procurement Automated Source System

The SBA designed the Procurement Automated Source System (PASS) to establish a centralized, computer-based inventory and referral system of small businesses interested in being a prime or sub-contractor for federal requirements. Using computers and remote video terminals, PASS furnishes sources by matching keywords which small firms have used to describe their capabilities. When procurement agencies or prime contractors request small business sources, the SBA furnishes the names and capabilities of those firms meeting the buyers specifications. Also, a profile of the firm can be made available giving information as to minority status, quality assurance programs, and other useful information.

Since 1978, the system has grown to an "inventory" of more than 230,000 firms. A firm that provides goods or services purchased by the federal government may register with PASS. PASS registration is not intended to guarantee contracting opportunities, but small firms registered with the system will have their capabilities available if requests are made by the Federal Procuring Offices or purchasing agents of prime contractors. Interested individuals may contact an SBA office for an application form.

Also, the SBIR Pre-Solicitation Announcement is available on a free BBS that can be accessed by dialing (800) 697-4636. Go to menu "Quick Search," then to "Search by Topic," and finally to "Government Contracting Opportunities."