Economic clusters: How they impact your community and how Procurement Search can help

Brookings recently published a report, “Rethinking Cluster Initiatives.”  In it, they talk about cluster initiatives:  groups of firms that gain a competitive advantage through local proximity and interdependence.  Intuitively, we see these effects anywhere where a city is “known” for a particular good or service.  Silicon Valley is a well-known example of a region defined by its dominant industry, but far from the only one — performing arts in New York City, beer in Portland,  and podcasting in Brooklyn all fit the bill.

Three advantages to clustering

Economic clusters have tended to emerge naturally, but they have several common ways they bring a benefit to their industries and businesses.  Brookings identified three advantages firms in a regional cluster gain through that proximity:

  • sharing infrastructure, like buildings, equipment, supply chains, and access to materials;
  • matching workers, in the sense that workers capable of doing specialized work for one firm can move more easily to another firm, reducing the need for job-specific training;
  • learning  and sharing knowledge and information, such as industry-specific manufacturing know-how.

Silicon Valley is the classic example to see how these factors interrelate to create a multiplier effect and strengthen all of the businesses in the regional industry cluster.  The name itself came from the chip fabrication plants that filled the area, filled with workers who would be able to move from plant to plant with relative ease, and operated by owners and entrepreneurs who knew how to sell the new technology to the world.

How does clustering apply to local government?

It’s rare that regional leaders will be able to create, from whole cloth, new economic clusters.  But every metropolitan area has a variety of local government agencies, all providing interrelated goods and services to their communities.  In every region, you can find parks departments, transportation bureaux, health and human services, offices, and special districts serving their residents.

These create a natural economic cluster, one of the local, interrelated government agencies in any given region.  In the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, there are tens of city governments, several transit districts, a port authority, several higher-ed facilities, and more; they’re all buying many of the same goods and services as one another.

When it comes to procurement, agencies in a region often share the same goals:  work with local and/or certified firms, or firms with prior experience working with government, in pursuit of best value for the contracting dollars.

Buyers work toward these goals by hosting outreach events, handing out flyers, sending out promotional emails, trying to connect with new businesses, but the problem with this approach is that, in working independently, the agencies compete with one another for the attention of their suppliers.

This brings us to Procurement Search.

Collaborating instead of competing

Local government agencies have shared goals and create a natural economic cluster, especially where they engage with the business community.  But when they compete with one another — working independently from one another — they duplicate their efforts in engaging with the local business community.  Much of that benefit of the natural economic cluster is lost.

Procurement Search helps them tell a different story:  collaborating with one another rather than competing, pooling their resources in connecting with their business communities, and unlocking the benefits of their cluster.

How do we do that?  We create a one-stop business resource, a single portal that any business in the region can visit to access the solicitations for any agency in their region.  Even though different agencies have their own solicitation platforms, guidelines, licensing requirements, and so on, we make it possible for businesses to find out everything they need to work with any local government agency, all in one spot.

How Procurement Search supports regional clusters

Procurement Search is a powerful tool to unlock the potential clustering brings to a region.  In creating our regional portals that are easy to use, we’re changing how businesses and their local government agencies interact.

For business owners, the value in the Procurement Search platform is immediate — as soon as they see that there can be an alternative to navigating a patchwork of different e-procurement systems, they’re in love.

For agency buyers, the value can be immediate — some agencies find an immediate benefit in offering their suppliers a sophisticated search platform for their solicitations — but in time, the impact is measurable and significant.

Procurement Search helps every agency in a metropolitan area tap into their natural economic cluster, to shift the supplier status quo.  In time, with Procurement Search, agencies find that the supplier community more closely reflects their business community.

Agency buyers, if you’re not a part of Procurement Search, we’d like to talk with you about how you can join.  And if you are, we appreciate the opportunity to work with you and provide a resource to your community.

And if you have any questions or would like to know more, please feel free to contact us at


Donahue, Ryan, et al. “Rethinking Cluster Initiatives.” Brookings, Brookings, 26 Sept. 2018,

Procurement Search in 60 Seconds

Procurement Search is a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find government contracting opportunities. We’re democratizing contracting, giving your suppliers a regional search engine to find your solicitations fast, wherever you are, anywhere in the country.

Find out how we’re doing this in 60 seconds:

One platform, over 450 regional search portals, the fastest and easiest way for your suppliers to find you.

ANNOUNCING: Seminole State College Now Partnering with Procurement Search

Businesses of all sizes can experience the benefits of Procurement Search, now partnering with Seminole State College

Sanford, Fl., August 10, 2018 – Procurement Search, the first procurement and contracting search platform to provide vendors a one-stop resource, today announced a partnership with Seminole State College of Sanford, Fl., to provide vendors instant access to their solicitations via the Procurement Search platform ( The new offering supports Seminole State College’s efforts to improve their engagement with the local vendor community.

Procurement Search is committed to democratizing government contracting. The disparity between the business community and the demographic of awarded contracts is something we can address,” said Steve Havelka, founder and CEO of Procurement Search. “By partnering with Seminole State College, we are helping them work with a wider, more competitive vendor community, and we are bringing their solicitation opportunities to businesses that would otherwise miss out on the chance to work with this vibrant organization.”

For most companies, prospecting for government contracts is not their priority. In most cases they have tried, and become overwhelmed at the myriad solicitation platforms in their local region, and left contracting opportunities on the table to those few firms that can navigate the systems. Government agencies are then left to work with those firms with familiarity with their systems–which aren’t necessarily the firms that can provide competitive bids and best value on their contracting needs.

Seminole State College’s partnership with Procurement Search will help them align with the business community, through robust, simple, and effective solicitation outreach, across all sectors, provided by Procurement Search. Bridging the technological divide between buyers and their local business community begins today.

Follow Procurement Search:



About Procurement Search

Procurement Search brings simple, powerful government contract discovery to businesses of all sizes. Featuring a robust search technology platform and modern, mobile-friendly user interface, Procurement Search removes technological barriers to access and opens up contracting to more businesses, especially those from historically underutilized communities. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @SearchProcuremt.


Social media connects you with suppliers

Procurement Search is a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find government contracting opportunities.  Your suppliers live on their smartphones.  When they’re between jobs or meetings, they’re checking their social media.

Procurement Search automates your agency’s social media presence.  Everything you post to your solicitation platform, we repost to the social media channels of your choice, automatically.  We make sure your suppliers never miss a solicitation again.

You’ll never miss out on opportunities to connect with a wider and more diverse supplier pool with social media, powered by Procurement Search.

Search preferred agencies

Procurement Search is a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find government contracting opportunities.  One thing that discourages vendors, especially small and MBE/WBE/DBE-certified firms, from winning bids is the sheer amount of information they have to sift through just to find contracts.

With our powerful search platform, we’ve given vendors the tools to search among all our member agencies, or narrow in on just a few agencies.  Watch below.

Open your doors to vendors from a more diverse representation of your local business community.

Search within bid documents

Procurement Search is a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find government contracting opportunities.  Often, when small firms are just starting out, including MBE/WBE/DBE-certified firms, it’s overwhelming when they try to sort through all of the solicitations and bid opportunities they find.

Our powerful search engine lets anyone do keyword searches, not just in the title and description of your opportunities, but every bid document as well, so more small and state-certified firms can find and bid on relevant contracts and RFPs. Watch:

We can help your agency work with more qualified, capable firms in your local community.

It’s Simple to Use

Procurement Search is a next-gen contracting marketplace, a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find your contracting opportunities.  Our search platform is so simple to use, we’re opening the door to more small and MBE/WBE/DBE-certified firms working with your agency.

Watch below to see how easy our search engine makes it for small firms to find your contracts and solicitations.

Start making the most of your vendor outreach today. We can help.

Search Multiple Agencies

Procurement Search is a whole new kind of tool to help vendors find government contracting opportunities.  We take away the barriers small and MBE/WBE/DBE-certified firms, to get you more competitive bidding from a wider and more diverse vendor audience.

Watch below to see how we’ve built a one-stop, combining your solicitations with the other agencies in your region.

Effortlessly get your solicitations in front of a wider, more diverse audience.

ANNOUNCING: Sound Transit Becomes Customer of Procurement Search

Cloud-based platform streamlines discovery of solicitations and contracting opportunities for vendors and small businesses, boosts competitive bidding and maximizes taxpayer dollar spend

SEATTLE, Wash. – June 14, 2018 – Procurement Search, the leading procurement and solicitation search engine, today announced that Sound Transit, the public transit agency serving the Seattle metropolitan area, has gone live, listing for the first time their solicitations on the Procurement Search platform ( Sound Transit has selected Procurement Search to help support their contractor and vendor outreach and to improve the competitiveness of their bids and the value they bring to taxpayers.

The implementation by Sound Transit demonstrates Procurement Search’s ability to provide robust, simple, and effective solutions for vendor outreach across a variety of sectors, including construction, architecture and engineering, professional services, and goods. With this implementation, Procurement Search and Sound Transit are poised to open up contracting opportunities to a much wider and more diverse vendor pool, improving use of taxpayer dollars and increasing contracting among firms that better reflect the demographics of the Seattle-area business community.

By partnering with Procurement Search, Sound Transit is sending a message to the Seattle-area small business community that they are ready to work with new firms, that they are open for business,” said Steve Havelka, Chief Executive Officer at Procurement Search.

Featuring a robust search technology platform and modern, mobile-friendly user interface, Procurement Search removes technological barriers to access and opens up contracting to more businesses, especially those from historically underutilized communities. Procurement Search is active in several metropolitan areas across the Pacific Northwest and in the Mid-Atlantic region, with plans for nationwide expansion actively underway.

Free Webinar: Social Media Deep Dive for Your Procurement Office

Are you using social media to reach out to your vendor community?  If not, you should be, and we’ll show you how!

Vendors throughout your region are using social media to talk with their customers, build their businesses, and look for new opportunities.  Social media is a powerful way to get your bids and opportunities in front of a wider audience, too.

You can reach more potential vendors, with less effort, using the social media strategies we’ll teach you in this free 30-minute webinar.  You’ll learn how to:

  • Identify vendors and identify the best platform for your office,
  • Build a content calendar,
  • And use automated tools to save you time as you make use of social media.

Watch our free 30-minute webinar, where we’ll take a closer look at how you can use social media platforms to connect with a wider and more engaged audience, right from this page:

Questions?  Comments?  We’d love to hear from you!

Drop us a line at info @, or give us a call at 503-395-5303.


Founder & CEO,