SBA pulls back self-certification

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"A small mistake"

Small business officials can no longer self-certify their firms as small disadvantaged businesses, 8(a) certified businesses or Historically Underutilized Business Zone [HUBZone] certified firms on the Central Contractor Registration database.

Effective today, Small Business Administration officials will have to select the appropriate designations on the Trading Partner Profiles that small firms file into the database.

Also beginning today, small business officials registering in the CCR database or updating their profile will be presented with a small business fraud and misrepresentation acknowledgement statement, which lists the penalties imposed for misrepresentation as a small business.

The CCR serves as an online business portal through which small business can market their offerings to agencies and partners, while those agencies and partners can seek suitable small firms for particular needs. However, recent studies by private analysis firms have suggested that the government's information about small firms is outdated and often inaccurate, leading officials to overestimate the amount of contracting business going to such firms.

Officials from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the Defense Department were involved in upgrading the database.

"This upgrade to the CCR database will improve upon the accuracy of the federal government's reporting of small business achievements and will allow the SBA to monitor and confirm the companies' small business status," said SBA Administrator Hector Barreto, in a written statement.

The overall effort falls under the auspices of the Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE), which is one of the E-Gov initiatives managed by the GSA.

In 2004, an SBA-commissioned study conducted by Eagle Eye publishing revealed that $2 billion of the $50.8 billion earmarked for small businesses in fiscal 2002 did not get to them. Of the top 1,000 "small" businesses getting federal contracts, 39 were actually large businesses, while five were nonprofit organizations, government entities or other organizations, according to that study.

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