What's the most valuable small-business category?

The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) certification has been the biggest godsend to small businesses looking to make it in the federal procurement world. The service-disabled veteran-owned status came up second in a new survey.

Based on online responses by 740 small business contractors, 64 percent of owners who have the 8(a) certification said it has been “very or extremely useful” in getting federal contracts. And half of those who are service-disabled veteran-owned firms said that designation has been very or extremely useful.

The results are based on the American Express OPEN’s survey known as “Women and Minority Small Business Contractors: Divergent Paths to Equal Success.” The survey was conducted in late 2011.

More specifically, minority contractors said the 8(a) status and disabled veteran status have been the most helpful. But even non-disabled veterans, and businesses with any sort of certification from a local government agency, report good results.

For women though, the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule has been best. According to the survey, 41 percent of women contractors on the GSA Schedule said it has been “very or extremely useful.”

The Schedules have helped many small businesses though: 39 percent of all firms on the Schedule said it was very or extremely useful. However, only 28 percent of minority contractors gave the Schedule such props.

The government has been working to get a special designation for woman small business owners. So far, it’s been the least useful of all the small-business designations. Only 17 percent of women who are certified as a woman-owned business say the designation has been “very or extremely useful.”

But the designation is new.

While in the works for a while, officials updated the Federal Acquisition Regulation March 2, announcing that they finalized a FAR rule that allows agencies to set aside contracts for women. It had been an interim rule since April 2011.

According to the survey, “It would seem that the newly launched Woman-Owned Small Business Procurement Program couldn’t have come at a better time.”

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.