Frequently Asked Questions

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I am unsure where to begin in preparing my business to compete for government contracting. Is there a roadmap or checklist for doing business with the government?

Yes. The Indiana APEX Accelerator will help you create a government procurement action plan or roadmap to get started with government contracting.  Prior to deciding to pursue government contracting, you will want to first assess your government contracting readiness:  Are you an established business?  Do you have a business plan that includes government contracting as a growth strategy or new customer market? Have you done the necessary market research to determine the government’s demand for your product or service? Will your company’s cash flow be compatible with government payment cycles? Does your company have a history of sales or an experienced team in the business’ line of work? It takes time and persistence to do business with the government. When your business is ready, an Indiana APEX Accelerator Counselor can help you get started! If you’d like further resources on establishing your business, please connect with the Indiana Small Business Development Center.

Is there a template or format for developing a one-page business capability statement?

Yes. The Indiana APEX Accelerator can provide you with assistance as you begin developing your company’s government capability statement for government contracting.  In addition, an Indiana APEX Accelerator Counselor can provide you with samples of government capability statements that you can refer to when creating your own.  

Does the Indiana APEX Accelerator have any contracts to award?

No, the Indiana APEX Accelerator Counselors provide assistance to companies preparing to compete for contracting opportunities with federal, state, or local government entities. This includes a no-cost BIDMATCH service.

Does the Indiana APEX Accelerator offer funding for small businesses?

No, the Indiana APEX Accelerator does not assist with funding for small businesses but may be able to recommend resources for funding, such as your area Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Can the Indiana APEX Accelerator prepare a bid or proposal for me?

No, the Indiana APEX Accelerator does not prepare government bids or proposals on behalf of clients but can assist you with review of your bid or proposal documents prior to submission to the government.

What is SBIR/STTR and where can I find current up to date SBA SBIR/STTR news?

The federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs both offer qualifying small businesses federal funding opportunities with the goals of stimulating technological innovation, engaging small businesses to meet federal research and development needs, and increasing private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal Research & Development (R&D) funding. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. To receive SBIR/STTR news, please subscribe to the SBA SBIR/STTR Newsletter.

Does my business have to be a small business to qualify for and benefit from Indiana APEX Accelerator services? 

The Indiana APEX Accelerator does not require that your business be a small business to qualify for services. Businesses of any size may benefit from APEX Accelerator services.

Should I contact the Indiana APEX Accelerator before I start my business?

The Indiana APEX Accelerator assists already established businesses to identify and compete for government contracting opportunities. While not required, businesses operating for 2+ years are best served by the Indiana APEX Accelerator.

How can the Indiana APEX Accelerator assist me with marketing my business to the government?

The Indiana APEX Accelerator can assist businesses with marketing their products and services to the government by assisting with market research, reviewing, and assisting with company government capability statements and narratives along with other government marketing materials, and reviewing company profiles in System of Award Management (SAM) and Small Business Administration Dynamic Small Business Search.

What is the Made in America Office and how can I offer products or services listed on its website? Can the Indiana APEX Accelerator assist me with this?

The Made in America Office (MIAO) and its objective is to highlight products and services that are perceived to be only available from outside the U.S.  When a government contracting officer wants a waiver from the Buy American Act, market research must first be conducted before the officer can request a non-availability waiver indicating a domestic source could not be found.  Such waivers are published now at  under the “Waivers” tab. Interested businesses can scroll through the products and services listed and determine their capabilities and interest in providing them. If capable and interested, please reach out to your Indiana APEX Accelerator Counselor as they can then assist in getting you connected to the right contracting officer, small business representative, and/or program office.

Do I need a certification to get a contract? 

No. Certifications at the federal, state, and local level are not required to do business with the government but may provide your business with additional opportunities to compete for certain contracts.

What small business certifications do I qualify for?

There are several certifications that small businesses may qualify for at the federal, state, and local levels. Your APEX Accelerator Counselor can assist you in identifying which certifications your business may qualify for and if those certifications may serve to benefit you in government contracting. Your APEX Accelerator Counselor can also review the application processes for the eligible certifications.

How do I apply for the State of Indiana Minority, Women-Owned, or Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification?

You will need to first register as a bidder with the State of Indiana. Once registered, you can complete the supplier diversity application online where you can identify as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) or Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). To become a registered bidder and complete the supplier diversity application, please visit the following link: For a list of more detailed instructions, please view the instructions from the IDOA website.

Does the Indiana APEX Accelerator assist businesses with the Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) or Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) verification process?

Yes. The Indiana APEX Accelerator can provide assistance with these certifications. For more information on eligibility and more details, please visit the SBA checklist.

What is needed to complete the federal WOSB Application?

Businesses interested in applying for Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification should first review SBA’s WOSB Preparation Checklist. The Checklist outlines the information necessary to complete the application for WOSB certification.

What is the difference between a “WBE” and a “WOSB”?

The federal Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) program is limited to women-owned organizations based upon specific NAICS codes, whereas the State of Indiana’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) program usually does not. Additionally, some WBE certified companies have no requirements on size whereas WOSB requires that the company meets the size standard as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Pro tip: Refer to SBA’s Size Standards Tool to determine if your business is “small” as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

How do I determine if my business is in a Hubzone area?

To determine if your business is “small” by SBA standards: You can refer to the SBA’s Size Standard Tool if you’re not sure. To determine if your business is located in a HUBZone: The SBA website has an interactive map which can aide you in determining if your location qualifies as a HUBZone.

To use the HUBZone Map:

  1. Type the business address into the search bar and click or tap search.
  2. Check to make sure the search found the correct address.
  3. Read the qualification status.
  4. Open a printable copy of the results
Pro tip: In addition to your business’s principle office located in a HubZone, you will also need to meet the SBA requirement of having at least 35% of its employees living in a HUBZone.

What is JCP Certification?

The Joint Certification Program allows contractors access to Department of Defense/Department of National Defense (DOD/DND) unclassified export controlled technical data/critical technology. This certification is typically needed for manufacturing companies to review technical drawings. Please reach out to your local APEX Accelerator for further details.

How do I register to compete for federal government contracts in the System for Award Management (SAM)?

Please review the Quick Start Guide for an overview of how to register your company with the System for Award Management, as linked here: Quick Start Guide for Contract Registrations. Pro tip: To compete for contracts you need both a Unique Entity ID (UEI) and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.

What documents are needed to register with the System for Award Management (SAM)?

Please review the Entity Registration Checklist for information on what documents are acceptable for registration with SAM, as linked here: Entity Registration Checklist.

What is the purpose of the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)?

The Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is the primary database federal buyers use to conduct their market research of small businesses. DSBS is another tool contracting officers use to identify potential small business contractors for upcoming contracting opportunities. Pro tip: Small businesses can also use DSBS to do their own market research and view information about potential teaming partners or competitors, such as details relating to growth, customers, and market penetration.

How do I update my DSBS SBA Profile?

Effective April 14, 2023, the Profile Pages application in DSBS will be accessed through SBA Connect. Users will use SBA Connect to make updates to their DSBS profiles. An instructional video on how to reach the DSBS Profile Pages is available here: ProNet – Training. Pro tip: Make sure the information transferred from to DSBS is accurate. Be sure to add a capabilities narrative to make your company stand out.

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