One-Person International Music Business Benefits from CIRAS Research, Contract Expertise

Being a one-person show hasn’t stopped Eduard Mato from securing multiple federal contracts for his musical instruments and music education business.

From his office in Centerville, Eduard Mato runs U.S. Music, an international business that provides musical instruments, music lessons, and coordination of performing arts events.

A highly trained professional musician himself, Mato started the business in 2012. It was in 2017, when he reached out to CIRAS to help grow. He had an excellent foundation to build on. Before working with the Procurement and Technical and Assistance Center at CIRAS, he won several government contracts, including a five-year contract with the Department of Defense Education Activity, providing musical instruments to all 164 of its schools located in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

“That’s amazing,” says Samantha Ferm, CIRAS government contracting specialist. “It’s tough to do business with the federal government without administrative support. Some contract requirements can run 80 pages. But he’s an accomplished business-owner who is always looking to improve to win more federal contracts.”

Mato knew that if he wanted to continue to expand, he’d need more expertise with government contracts. “CIRAS was able to educate me about programs that I wasn’t aware of,” he says.

CIRAS helped in a variety of ways to improve Mato’s success in government contracting:

  • Assisted with the submission of paperwork that resulted in the designation of his business as located in a HUBZone—a historically underutilized business area that can be given preferential treatment in receiving government contracts.
  • Helped U.S. Music get set up with Bidmatch, a database that posts alerts on opportunities from city, county, state, and federal governments across the country.
  • Reviewed his capability statement—a document contractors use to show potential customers why they should be interested in their business—and website to make them more government-friendly.
  • Conducted research on prior federal contracts by looking up past competitors, pricing, and more.
  • Assisted in completing an 8(a) business development application.
  • Helped sort through the vast number of solicitations to determine potential value.

Mato was born in Albania but came to Centerville as a teen as part of a foreign exchange student program. After graduating from the local high school, he went on to get both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at Webster University in St. Louis, performing professionally and serving as a college director of performing arts.

“The federal marketplace is extremely competitive, especially when competing with larger companies with more capabilities,” Mato says. “You need to have experience with the process. CIRAS has that experience.”