Fact Sheet 28: Small Business Utilization

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published May 11, 2015
Updated: March 22, 2023

The Army awards billions of contracting dollars annually to support its mission. Historically, more than 20 percent of this total goes to small businesses. A strong small business industrial base is essential to accomplishing the Army mission. It is the policy of the United States government to provide maximum practicable contracting opportunities to small business. To that end, the St. Paul District’s small business program manager provides advice and guidance to the Corps’ acquisition community and the small business community for all acquisitions valued at more than $10,000. 

In support of the Small Business Act of 1953, the federal government establishes target award goals for Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Woman Owned Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business and HUBZone. Business size is determined by the company’s North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. To identify business size, navigate to the NAICS link below and choose the code associated with your business. Thresholds for annual income and employee size are provided by the Small Business Administration as guides for determining company size. Qualifying as a small business or in a socio-economic category could grant you preference on government contracts.

Awards made to large businesses require small business subcontracting goals to be met. This provides an opportunity for small businesses to participate in federal contracting without having to be the prime contractor. 

Federal contracting is quite different than commercial. There are resources available to small businesses to assist in understanding the federal contracting environment. Your local APEX Accelerator (formally the Procurement Technical Assistance Program) offers several free courses designed for novice federal contractor new to those looking to expand. Find your local office at https://www.aptac-us.org/. All Corps of Engineers offices have a designated small business program manager who works with the office’s project management team and understands the requirements of that office. 

Getting Started

  1. Register in the System for Award Management database at www.sam.gov.
  2. Contact your local Small Business Administration office. See www.sba.gov. 
  3. Visit www.sam.gov to see what the various agencies of the government are buying.


NAICS Lookup: http://www.naics.com/search/

Small Business Size Standards: https://www.sba.gov/document/support--table-size-standards

St. Paul District Small Business Office: https://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Small-Business/#new