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The New Frontier

Uncle Sam wants you! Care to enlist in the growing ranks of entrepreneurs running government services?

This story appears in the May 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The 's practice of hiring private companies toprovide goods and services is as old as the country itself--alittle older actually. During the American Revolution, GeorgeWashington used private spies and detection services to help defeatthe British.

More than 200 years later, everyone from the president of theUnited States to the mayor of Indianapolis is still followingWashington's lead. The Department of Defense, already dependenton private companies, is planning to have competitionsinvolving about 150,000 positions over the next six years.Historically, about half the competitions are won by privatecompanies. Big cities, meanwhile, boast big savings--$400 millionsince 1992 in Indianapolis, $42 million each year in Philadelphia,and $32 million since 1979 in Phoenix--from using private firmsrather than in-house staff.

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