Set-aside program for smallest businesses expires

A new rule published in today's Federal Register amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation to eliminate the Very Small Business Pilot Program, which had required agencies to set aside some contract opportunities for the smallest of small businesses.

The program was created in 1994 as part of the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act of that year, but SBA did not actually launch it until 1998. The statutory authority expired Sept. 30, 2003.

Businesses that qualified for the program had no more than 15 employees and no more than $1 million in annual revenue. The program was intended to improve those firms’ access to federal contracts.

The law required contracting officers to designate some acquisitions with an expected value ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 for competition only among very small businesses.

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council published the rule.

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