Critical Read

Clearing a federal path for small IT firms

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What: General Services Administration’s RFI: “IT Schedule 70 Making it Easier for Suppliers to Work with the Government Request for Information.”

Why: The GSA wants to get input from industry on how it can help small businesses break into the Federal Acquisition Service’s massive information technology Schedule 70 government wide acquisition contract (GWAC) by potentially getting rid of its requirements for a two-year minimum for corporate experience.

The agency said that some government practices can present small businesses with a tough road through the federal marketplace. As a result of feedback from contractors and industry, GSA is working to expand opportunities for small businesses on the Schedule 70 GWAC, which sells IT gear to federal agencies. If the proposed rule change works for Schedule 70, it could spread to other big GSA contracts.

The GSA proposed measuring whether altering the two-year minimum is successful by:

-- Measuring the number of new and emerging small IT businesses added to Schedule 70.

-- Issuing surveys to determine if addressing the two-year corporate requirement helped new and emerging small businesses get IT Schedule 70 contracts.

-- Measuring contractor performance by whether they’re meeting sales criteria, maintaining contract compliance and other points.

GSA requested responses no later than Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. EDT.

Verbatim: “GSA is examining the 2-year minimum corporate experience requirements for IT Schedule 70 to ensure that it does not prevent responsible sources that otherwise have the capacity and capability to accomplish a given requirement from performing work for the government.”

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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