Cashing in on the Economic Stimulus Package

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

IT solution providers can cash in on the federal economic stimulus package—if they are ready for it. You need to know where the funds are headed, establish customer relationships and maybe even write proposals for grants.

You've seen your customers' budget cuts and you've watched as technology companies have cut their work forces and earnings projections. Accounts receivable are down at your company.  Now, just as it looks as bleak as it can get, can the Obama administration's massive economic stimulus package come to the rescue?

And more importantly: Will you and your business be able to take advantage of some of those stimulus dollars?

Executives in distribution who have been closely monitoring the effects of the legislation on the IT channel think there may well be significant benefits for savvy solution providers. And the stimulus package may even be lightening the bleak mood, at least a bit.

"There is some optimism around the stimulus package," says Ken Lamneck, president of the Americas at IT distributor Tech Data. "It's just a matter of understanding it, and figuring out when those dollars will filter through."

Lamneck says VARs who have worked in government sectors are more likely to understand how the stimulus dollars will flow and how to go about getting them, but this stimulus package is different than previous government spending and has opportunities in all market sectors.

"Typically, it's always been for government projects," says Lamneck. "This is different because government is releasing the moneys to the private sector too, which is something we haven't seen before."

But just because the funds will be available to a broad population of solution providers for their customers doesn't mean all solution providers will know how to go about taking advantage of it.

"One of the first questions we [have] as we look at this is, 'Will this money go to big system integrators as opposed to small mom-and-pop shops?'" says Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram Micro’s Government and Education Sales Division. 

"And the answer we think ... is that it will flow out much the way that it does now," Laclede says. "People that are in the right position and talk to those end users who are eligible for stimulus funds and are ready to take advantage of those funds are in a position to get this money."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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