Resource Guide - Getting Started

There are three main paths to get into defense contracting. Perhaps the easiest way to enter the federal supply chain is to become a Subcontractor where you provide your goods or services to a company that already has a contract with the federal government. If you have an innovative idea that you would like to develop, prototype or produce, you can get a federal contract through Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs). Finally, you can become part of the federal supply chain by providing your goods or services directly to the federal government as a Prime Contractor. Whatever path you take to win a federal contract or become part of the federal supply chain, you must first do the following things:

  1. Register your company with the U.S. government through the System for Award Management (SAM) at SAM is a federal government-owned and operated website that allows companies to register and do business with the U.S. government. You must complete your SAM registration in order to bid on federal contracts, work as a federal contractor, or apply for federal grants.
  2. Comply with NIST 800-171, a federal cybersecurity requirement. This requirement ensures that government contractors are able to protect the confidentiality of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) at or the University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute at to learn more about and receive assistance.
  3. Connect for success in winning bids. Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at to receive free or low-cost support for entering the federal supply chain such as individualized business counseling, training, registration and certifications, bid proposals, and matchmaking. The Bid Targeting System (BTS) is a free tool for Michigan companies that provides information on relevant bid opportunities. Visit for more information and to register.

Matchmaking and networking are important activities to engage in for success in the federal supply chain. This guide provides information on organizations that host events throughout the state to connect companies with each other. See the “Matchmaking and Networking” sections for details.