SBA takes steps to boost small-biz contracts

The Small Business Administration unveiled today several measures designed to help small businesses win more federal government contracts.

SBA said the centerpiece of the initiative is a new regulation that requires small businesses to recertify their size status on long-term contracts when a contract option is exercised, when a small business is purchased by or merged with another business, or at the end of the first five years of a contract.

“This regulation will go a long way toward ensuring that contract awards get in the hands of small-business owners, federal agencies get the proper credit toward their small-business contracting goals and small-business contract awards are fairly and accurately reported," SBA Administrator Steven Preston said.

A small company’s size is determined at the time of the initial offer on the contract, an SBA announcement states. And that size is maintained throughout the life of the contract. But agencies are increasingly using long-term contracts with options that can extend them to 20 years.

“We need accurate data on business size,” said Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in the announcement. “However, small businesses must be given fair opportunity to grow as they perform federal contracts. This rule is intended to strike the right balance between fostering growth and accurate data gathering.”

SBA said the new regulation does not require terminating a contract if the small business changes its size; and it does not require changes in the contract’s terms and conditions.

SBA said the new regulation was developed in coordination with OFPP.

The recertification regulation will be available in the Federal Register Nov. 15.

SBA and OFPP also announced the creation of a Small Business Procurement Scorecard for 24 federal agencies. Modeled after the President’s Management Agenda, the score card aims to better monitor each agency’s small-business goals and achievements.

“This score card is intended to increase transparency and accountability in the small-business procurement arena,” Preston said. “Additionally, it will highlight successes that can be shared between agencies and result in additional ways to engage the small-business contracting community.”

SBA also plans to hire more procurement employees to help find government contracting opportunities for small businesses. The agency said it will work with the Bush administration’s Integrated Acquisition Environment initiative to more effectively cover federal buying activities.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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