EDA Logo Howard County Maryland - Economic Development Authority

New Federal Pilot Program to Help Small and Start Up Businesses

January 18, 2013

COLUMBIA, MD – With more than 8,000 small businesses in Howard County, and many of them hoping to do work with the federal government, the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) today encouraged small- and start-up businesses to take advantage of RFP-EZ, a new federal “beta” (pilot) program aimed at streamlining the government contracting process.

The new program is an initiative of the U.S. Small Business Administration in conjunction with the White House's Presidential Innovation Fellows, and if successful, the pilot will be expanded to include more contracts for a more diverse group of innovative startups.

“We applaud the SBA on this effort,” said Laura Neuman, HCEDA CEO. “Navigating through the federal government’s procurement process is daunting and could be a full-time job for any business owner. An easier process will allow them to focus on the most important thing – their business.”

RFP-EZ allows the government to source low-cost, high-impact solutions from innovative tech companies. A limited number of low-dollar contracts through RFP-EZ are now available at http://rfpez.sba.gov.

"The federal government gets access to the most innovative startups, helping us lower costs and get more bang for the dollars we spend," said Sean Greene, SBA's Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation. "The small businesses get access to the largest customer in the world. It's a win-win."

The streamlined process helps save significant amounts of time for all types of business, especially high-growth startups. By simply creating a company profile on the beta site, each small business can search and bid for contracts relevant to its skillset. A small business can easily search for an opportunity, see a statement of work, and bid all within the RFP-EZ web interface.

The new federal program supports other efforts for small- and start-up businesses in Howard County including the HCEDA’s Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, the Howard Tech Council and the Howard County office of the Small Business & Technology Development Center housed within in HCEDA. For more information about federal services and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs, visit http://business.usa.gov. For information about State and Howard County programs, visit www.hceda.org.