Small-biz goals easier to reach

The Small Business Administration's FAQ on the 8(a) business developmentprogram

Agencies that do business with 8(a) companies on the General Services Administration

schedule can get automatic credit toward meeting their 8(a) goals, thanks

to an agreement signed last week between GSA and the Small Business Administration.

The memorandum of understanding between GSA and SBA states that any federal

agency that does business with an 8(a) company through a scheduled contract

will receive credit for it automatically, without having to meet any additional

criteria, said SBA spokesman D.J. Caulfield.

"The SBA used to act as a middleman, but we're getting away from that role,"

Caulfield said. "There are many 8(a) firms on the GSA schedule, but the

agencies weren't getting credit for it," and now they will.

In the past, agencies would get credit toward their small business goals

for contracts awarded to 8(a) companies through the GSA schedule, but they

would not get credit toward specific 8(a) goals, said Larry Allen, executive

director of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

To qualify as an 8(a) company, a small business must be owned and controlled

by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.

Allen said the agreement is a benefit to 8(a) companies and federal agencies

and could have been done sooner if not for a lengthy approval process within

the SBA.

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