Companies looking to do business in the public sector must first learn how to market their goods and services to government agencies. As in the private sector, government buyers are interested in knowing your capabilities, seeing examples of work, and learning more about your organization’s story. But despite best efforts, many minority and women-owned businesses are often at a disadvantage when pit against larger firms. Not only for contracts but also in their ability to consistently market to procurement professionals when they are already stretched thin on resources.

In recent months, however, the push for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the supply chain has sparked renewed interest in increasing the percentage of projects awarded to MWBE firms and providing resources for these firms to shore up critical systems within their businesses, like marketing.

As many have come to learn, being a certified MWBE firm is not a guarantee of work. But when coupled with a robust marketing system, getting on the shortlist gets much easier.

We’ve curated three tactics you can use to better position your firm to catch the eye of decision-makers within government agencies.

Leverage PTAC and SBA Services

Every year, the federal government spends roughly $400 to $500 billion on government contracts, nearly a quarter of which are awarded to MWBEs. There are numerous procurement opportunities, but the bidding process is notoriously tedious and time-consuming. You can easily spend days putting together a proposal and still not make the final cut. Having a solid strategy will be an advantage for your team as you surf resource hubs for new solicitations.

Before you begin submitting proposals, first narrow your scope. While you may desire to work with NASA, for example, there are some things they just don’t buy. Or, there are opportunities that don’t come up for bid often. So, narrow your search to agencies with a proven track record of purchasing the goods or services you offer regularly.

Partnering with The Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), a one-stop-shop for government marketing skills and training services, is a great way to kickstart this process. PTACs can help you locate potential bids, prepare proposals, and advise on your capacity to take on more work.

PTAC can also advise on partnering with subcontracts or being a subcontractor for a larger prime contractor.

“Market research is key. When it comes to subcontracting, you must know why it’s advantageous for a contractor to do business with you. Ask yourself two questions: do you have a certain skill set the contractor does not have or do you have access to a customer they do not have?”


Making connections with primes and subcontractors must be a part of your marketing strategy. They cannot and will not work with you if you have not successfully communicated what you have to offer.

To find contractors, visit the SBA’s Subcontracting Directory, which lists the contact information of large federal government contractors. SBA also has market representatives who can help you source subcontracts that align with your vision and business objectives.

Develop A Winning Proposal

The second, and arguably most important piece of the prospecting puzzle, is submitting a solid proposal.

Unlike marketing to the private sector, where digital advertising and email campaigns drive lead generation, governments generally publish Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or Requests for Information (RFIs). Firms respond with a proposal or capability statement.

Successful proposals highlight things like technical efficiency, staffing, past performance, capabilities, and clarity of approach.

To elevate your pitch, consider designing your proposal. Follow the guidelines suggested in the FDIC OMWI Education Module: Preparing Technical Proposals for Government Contracting to align your pitch with formatting best practices. But also consider creating a theme and allowing that theme to run throughout the proposal. Make your proposal as visually striking as you’ve made the content salient.

Build Relationships With Procurement Professionals

Finally, let’s go back to where we started – building relationships. Proactively target procurers, influencers, and end-users and sell them on your capabilities. Doing so will increase the likelihood of your proposal getting into the hands of key decision-makers.

To do this, stay on top of trade-show dates, pre-bid conferences, and agency events. Most events are now virtual, making it easier than ever to attend and get virtual face-time with procurement professionals.

Polish your capability statement and have it ready to share with those who can move you forward. Create a print-ready and digital version to link to your website, email, social channels, and other online platforms. Most primes will choose the subcontractor they think is most qualified and is the easiest to work with. Giving them the tools they need to make a decision removes the guesswork and makes a positive impression.

Finally, if you submit a proposal but lose the bid, request a debrief. This feedback provides insights that can help you improve your next proposal. It also demonstrates your willingness to improve, which may pay dividends on the next opportunity.

Key Takeaways for MWBEs

Pursing work in the public sector is a great way to diversify your business income. For MWBEs, creating and managing an ongoing marketing strategy is essential. It’s important to remember that not all winning bids are the lowest bid —presentation matters. Relationships matter. By utilizing resource hubs like PTAC and SBA, showcasing your capabilities in proposals, and connecting with key people, you increase the likelihood of winning bids. Not just to diversify supply chains. But because you’re capable and now they know it.



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Abigail DaSilva
Abigail DaSilva is the marketing coordinator at NBIC, channeling her passion and creativity to support the organization’s mission of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs. A proud graduate of Tennessee State University, Abigail holds a degree in design, which fuels her artistic sensibilities and impeccable eye for aesthetics. Before joining NBIC, Abigail embarked on her own entrepreneurial journey alongside her brother, where she spearheaded the sales and marketing efforts of their own venture. This experience honed her skills in strategic promotion, customer engagement, and marketing media. Abigail has played a crucial role in the company, transforming their media marketing strategies, specifically towards a more video-driven approach. Recognizing the power of visual storytelling, she has created compelling content and innovative campaigns that have amplified NBIC’s reach and engagement, strengthening their online presence and impact. Outside of her professional endeavors, Abigail is an avid art buff, frequently visiting museums and exploring immersive experiences that combine technology and creativity. She also has a deep love for travel, shopping, and anything that allows her to utilize her creative mind. With her unwavering commitment and broad range of experience, Abigail is a valuable asset to NBIC. She remains eager to push boundaries, elevate engagement, and empower entrepreneurs through her exceptional marketing expertise.
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Anne-Marie Tanner is the Programs Coordinator at NBIC. With a Master’s degree in strategic marketing from Midway University and a Bachelor’s degree in design from University of Kentucky, she brings a unique blend of business experience and creativity to her work. Prior to joining NBIC in March of 2023, Anne-Marie worked as a small business and startup consultant, where she gained valuable experience in guiding entrepreneurs through the challenges and opportunities of launching and growing their businesses. Her expertise in strategic planning and her ability to quickly grasp new concepts makes her a strong asset to the NBIC team. As the Programs Coordinator at NBIC, Anne-Marie manages multiple components, including Foundations, E-Myth, Framework, and Groundwork. Anne-Marie values collaboration and strives to align her work with the vision and expectations of her colleagues. Beyond her professional career, Anne-Marie has a wide range of hobbies and passions. She is an accomplished Olympic weight-lifter. Additionally, with her husband, she started a medical clinic in Martin, TN, a brewery and events center in Paris, TN, and an airbnb property. Their goal is not only to build successful businesses, but also to provide economic stability and job opportunities to as many people as possible. With her extensive background in business, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her commitment to personal growth, Anne-Marie Tanner is an extremely valuable asset to NBIC. Her diverse skill set and positive mindset make her a catalyst for success, both for herself and the new businesses she assists.
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Saturnie Antoine has been a part of NBIC since November 2021, serving as the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and has obtained a professional certification in coaching skills. With a diverse background in corporate work spanning over 15 years, Saturnie has worked in various sectors. As the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager, Saturnie oversees the entire program. Her responsibilities include structuring the curriculum, sourcing speakers, and organizing the launch campaign. Additionally, Saturnie provides personalized professional coaching to the program participants, offering guidance and support to help them scale their businesses to $1 million plus level. Since the commencement of the program in March 2023, under Saturnie’s leadership, R.I.S.E. UP has witnessed numerous accomplishments and successes. Additionally, the program’s focus on emotional intelligence has helped participants navigate internal challenges and overcome obstacles inhibiting their growth. Outside of work, Saturnie values personal time spent with her family and loved ones. Her true passion lies in her role as a professional coach, where she finds fulfillment in assisting women on their journey towards personal and professional growth. Saturnie’s commitment to her clients and her extensive experience, coupled with her excellent coaching skills, allows her to provide comprehensive support to program participants, enabling them to achieve their goals and reach new heights. Under Saturnie’s leadership, the R.I.S.E. UP Program continues to flourish and make a lasting impact on the lives of female entrepreneurs.
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Leroy Cunningham currently occupies the role of Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC. He holds a major degree in Business Administration from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, along with minor degrees in Accounting and Economics. Leroy’s prior engagement with business development consulting brings great strength to the NBIC team. He has worked at three of the largest market capitalization companies in the world – Emerson Electric, General Electric, and Berkshire Hathaway. In his current role as the Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC, Leroy wears many hats. One of his primary objectives at NBIC is to increase the number of small minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses qualified to undertake contracts from prime contractors and government entities. By fostering relationships with community partners and engaging with prime contractors and government entities, Leroy works tirelessly to bridge the gap and provide opportunities for these businesses to flourish. Additionally, Leroy dedicates his time to consulting with business owners, providing them with valuable insights and guidance. By helping businesses at their current stage and empowering them to reach their goals, Leroy greatly contributes to the growth and success of NBIC’s clients. Outside of work, Leroy indulges in his love for reading, sports, and travel. With his vast knowledge, dedication, and passion for community empowerment, Leroy is committed to making a meaningful impact at NBIC. His wealth of certifications and global business experience lends a unique perspective and expertise to NBIC’s initiatives, which will undoubtedly drive the organization forward.
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Octavia Wilson-Simmons is the Special Project Coordinator at NBIC. With a background as a tank storage broker, Octavia acted as a vital liaison between storage terminals and cargo owners, facilitating contracts for the transportation and storage of products. Prior to NBIC, she also worked as a chemical operator at a chemical company, further enhancing her expertise in the industry. Joining NBIC in early 2022, Octavia initially served as an assistant to Angela before transitioning to her current position as a Special Project Coordinator. In this role, Octavia plays a crucial part in various projects, including MNAA and Elevate 615. She also provides invaluable support to the team, assisting with grants and streamlining processes to ensure efficient collaboration and coordination. Outside of her professional endeavors, Octavia is extremely family-oriented and cherishes family outings and spending quality time with her loved ones. Octavia is also a dedicated DIY enthusiast and seeks to immerse herself in various projects. Octavia embraces the opportunity to collaborate with the NBIC team, support Angela, and contribute to the company’s mission. Having witnessed the growth of businesses firsthand gives Octavia special insight into the entrepreneurial world and the hard work that goes into operating and expanding your business. With her extensive background in the oil industry and her unwavering dedication to assisting others, Octavia continues to make a positive impact within NBIC, among her peers, and within the entrepreneurial community as a whole.