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Cracking the Government Procurement Code: How Small Businesses Can Overcome Barriers in Government Procurement


Cracking the Government Procurement Code: How Small Businesses Can Overcome Barriers in Government Procurement

Censeo Consulting Group, a Washington D.C.-based strategy consulting firm, has published a report entitled “Cracking the Government Procurement Code” which details the results of an extensive study on the experience of small businesses doing business in government markets. Conducted in partnership with Amazon Business, the report examines the barriers to entry and the barriers to success that small businesses face when selling to the government customers, and the role that B2B e-commerce (i.e., online marketplaces) can play in reducing these barriers.

Leveraging the firm’s deep experience supporting public sector acquisition strategy and operations, Censeo developed a comprehensive web-based survey to capture the perspectives of small businesses selling to government customers at the federal, state and local levels. The survey was broadly distributed to a network of 35,000 small businesses currently registered to do business with government customers, and asked respondents to describe the impact of several key barriers to entry and success on their experience selling to the government. To assess the potential enabling role of online marketplaces in government procurement, the survey also asked respondents about their current usage of online marketplaces and the benefits that they provide. Key findings from the report include:

  • Across all levels of government, 93% of respondents reported facing significant barriers to selling to the government
  • 85% of respondents agree that the overall procurement process is complex and difficult to participate in
  • 72% of respondents reported that the cost of sales when using an online marketplace was the same or lower compared to other channels
  • Businesses selling through online marketplaces reported receiving 42% of their annual revenue through online marketplaces – more than any other sales channel

“Despite efforts by government agencies to level the playing field, small businesses still face significant challenges in doing business with the public sector,” said Derrick Moreira, President of Censeo and team leader of the study. “Through this extensive study, we wanted to highlight the perspectives of the small business community and provide tangible focus areas for improvement, particularly in the opportunity space created by the growing adoption of online marketplaces by government procurement officials and small businesses.”

In addition to these findings, the report identified a series of recommendations for government procurement leaders, small businesses, and online marketplace providers to improve the government procurement process and expand the use of online marketplaces, including:

  • Expanding the use of enterprise B2B e-commerce accounts at government agencies;
  • Encouraging small businesses to apply for and maintain socioeconomic certifications to ensure their eligibility for government set-aside programs; and
  • Enhancing the ability of online marketplaces to identify eligible small businesses in support of government contracting goals

Additional information about the report can be accessed via Amazon Business Here.

Read the Supply Chain Management Review’s article on the report here.

For further information about the data and insights in this report, please contact:
Derrick Moreira (
Vinai Trichur (
Kisha Dimbo (
Bradford McGann (
Nicholas Navarro (


Derrick Moreira


Vinai Trichur
Managing Partner

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