SBA pushes e-procurement resources

The Small Business Administration is advancing its resources for companies struggling to keep up with the growing use of electronic procurement practices in the federal government.

Agencies are moving more of their contract activities online, using systems such as the governmentwide FedBizOpps portal and the Defense Department's E-Mall, and using purchase cards for small procurements.

But small, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses have been slow to use technologies, including the World Wide Web — so SBA is offering education and tools to help those companies.

"We believe that electronic commerce is a major challenge for our small businesses," Linda Williams, associate administrator for procurement policy and liaison in the Office of Government Contracting and Minority Enterprise Development at SBA. The agency will offer training on how to get the most out of its PRO-Net system, an online searchable database of procurement opportunities for small businesses. And Pro-Net will soon interface with FedBizOpps and DOD's Central Contractor Registration system, Williams said Wednesday at the e-Procurement conference in Tysons Corner, Va.

SBA also will emphasize the benefits of using its SUB-Net system, a site where prime contractors can post subcontracting opportunities, and the new Womenbiz.gov site, run by the Interagency Committee on Women's Business Enterprise.

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