What OSDBUs do
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed into law an amendment to the Small Business Act. It requires each agency to have an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to help small businesses receive federal contracts.
The OSDBUs usher small businesses into the government marketplace by looking for opportunities and teaching business owners the ins and outs of dealing with departments. They work with small, disadvantaged businesses, businesses owned by service-disabled veterans and women, and they assist businesses in qualified Historically Underutilized Business Zones.
The OSDBU makes sure agencies and their large prime contractors comply with the federal acquisition laws and regulations that relate to small business. They also work to have small businesses included as viable options as prime contractors and subcontractors from which to buy.
As contracts become bigger and more complex, small businesses might not have the capacity to handle the work, but the OSDBU still searches for ways to set aside certain parts of the contract for small businesses, particularly the tasks that a large corporation would award subcontractors.
Matthew Weigelt is a former FCW senior writer who covered acquisition and procurement.