BILLINGS — Thirty-five Montana companies took part in an online training session Wednesday to learn the ins and outs of doing business with the government.
Government contracts can prove to be quite lucrative and offer businesses of all sizes and types a potential new source of revenue.
Take the eastern Montana rancher who's leasing property to the National Guard for use as a shooting range, or a Montana clothing company now making PPE's during the pandemic.
It all starts with a contract with the state, local or federal government.
"The government really cannot function, these agencies cannot fulfill their mission for the public good, without contracting with the private sector," said Deanna Langman, state program manager. "It's still competitive and companies need to learn how and all that, but it really is quite a business opportunity for the right company."
Langman heads the team of advisors at the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) across Montana, that offer personal, timely advice on contracting with the government.
Due to COVID-19 restraints on "in-person" training, PTAC took its effort online this week, hosting the first of six webinars. The virtual sessions offer technical assistance, training, and expert advice on government contracting.
"For Montana companies, complementing their commercial business with government contracts can be a great way to realize some new revenue, and a new business opportunity," said Langman.
Landman pointed out that the state of Montana currently lists as many as 46 active business opportunities, ranging from financial services to pest control to medical and mental health services.
The federal government lists several hundred opportunities in Montana, ranging from specialized construction at the Libby and Fort Peck dams to renovation at the Missoula Fire Lab to dental services.
Since 2008, Langman said federal agencies alone have purchased approximately $7.2 billion from Montana companies.
"The government buys all kinds of products and services every single day across every industry," Langman said. "A lot of those opportunities on the federal side are set side for small businesses specifically."
The remaining dates for the PTAC virtual series are Aug. 26, Sept. 9, Sept. 23 Oct. 7 and Oct. 21.
Businesses are encouraged to sign up for the date that works best for them. The webinars are free but registration is required at www.montanaptac.org.