If you run a small shipbuilding company, bidding for government projects can be intimidating. That’s why the government launched the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan (ASAP) — to help small and medium companies in Atlantic Canada win valuable contracts. When you participate, your company could get a part of the $35 billion that the government is spending to renew its military fleets.
Understanding the ASAP
The ASAP was created to make sure that small businesses like yours can land valuable jobs that are created by Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. This long-term strategy includes fixing old naval and coast guard boats, building new boats, and maintaining the fleet. To help you find and win these jobs, the ASAP offers a variety of resources:
- Online portals to help you find new opportunities
- Partnerships with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to get your company ready for government work
- Educational programs that make it easier for you to find skilled workers
- Events to help you promote your company
Getting Your Business Ready to Be a Supplier
Government contracts have very specific requirements, so it’s important that your business is ready for the challenge. If you want to take advantage of the ASAP’s supplier opportunities, the ACOA recommends that you start by updating your website. In addition to your location and contact information, it should include your capabilities, accomplishments, and any certifications you have.
Next, it’s time to get all of the certifications the government usually looks for in its suppliers. At a minimum, it’s a good idea to register for Canadian Controlled Goods and get certified for ISO and AS9100. These certifications can help you land more defence projects.
As part of the ASAP, the government lists its shipbuilding-related projects online. To make sure you see these opportunities, you can sign up for the Irving Shipbuilding Supplier Registry and the Seaspan Marine Supplier Registry. Two other places to look include MERX and the prime contractor supplier portals for your province.
How Can You Get Involved in the ASAP?
No matter where you are in the preparation process, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your local ACOA representative. This person can help you make the most of the ASAP — they can help you get the certifications you need, tell you about upcoming industry events, and direct you toward workshops that teach you how to bid for government contracts. Need to expand before you can bid? Your representative can also help you apply for ASAP-related funding through the Business Development Program or the Atlantic Innovation Funding.
Networking is another way to get involved in ASAP opportunities. The ACOA recommends that you go to as many ASAP training workshops, trade shows, and conferences as possible. You can find them on the organization’s website or through your representative. It’s also a good idea to join your local aerospace, defence and marine association. If you’re a smaller company, this is a great way to find sub-contracting jobs from prime government suppliers. To make sure you’re ready to jump on a possible project, you can have a business plan ready to go. It should show how your company complements the shipbuilders supply chain.
With the ASAP, it’s easier for small companies like yours to get involved in lucrative government projects. Whether you run a shipyard or you make marine parts, it’s possible to use this program to find opportunities that keep your company busy and profitable.