SBA’s inspector general says agencies are overstating 8(a) and HUBZone contracting achievements

September 29, 2014 by

On September 24, 2014, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued Evaluation Report 14-18, Agencies are Overstating Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone Goaling Credit by Including Contracts Performed by Eligible FirmsThis report presents the results of an evaluation of select Section 8(a) Business Development Program and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) contract awards.

The OIG identified over $400 million in contract actions that were awarded to ineligible firms, which may have contributed to the overstatement of small business goaling dollars for the Small Disadvantaged Business and the HUBZone Business preference programs in FY 2013.  Besides reporting inaccurate information in Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG), procuring agencies may have limited contracting opportunities for firms currently participating in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs.

Further, the OIG found that HUBZone and 8(a) certification information is not consistently transmitted to the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) and the System for Award Management (SAM).  As a result, the affected small businesses are not getting the visibility in the DSBS database, especially the HUBZone firms, and as a result, may impact federal agencies in meeting their HUBZone procurement goals.

Additionally, the OIG also identified over $1.5 billion dollars in contract actions for which the firms were in the programs at the time of contract award, but in FY 2013 were no longer in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs.  Specifically, SBA regulations permit procuring agencies to claim Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone goaling credit on certain contract actions even after firms have left the program.  In the opinion of the OIG, the amount of dollars the SBA reports to Congress and the public as being performed by 8(a) and HUBZone firms in the Small Business Goaling Report is significantly impacted by the inclusion of contract actions performed by former program participants.

The OIG made two recommendations to SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development intended to strengthen controls between SBA databases on certification data of 8(a) and HUBZone firms and information reported in FPDS-NG. The recommendations are:

  1. In coordination with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the General Services Administration, the SBA should strengthen controls between the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search Database and the System for Award Management to ensure accuracy of 8(a) and HUBZone certification data in FPDS-NG.
  2. The SBA should modify DSBS so that a firm’s profile and certification information for HUBZone and 8(a) status remains visible and accurate to agency contracting officers, or develop an alternate list to verify a firm’s status.

The OIG reports that SBA’s management has agreed to pursue both recommendations.

Defense department’s ‘sources sought’ for IT services underscores importance of an effective capabilities statement

September 16, 2014 by

Market research undertaken last week by a unit of the Department of Defense places significant importance on small businesses having a written capabilities statement.

In fact, as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) puts it, It is vitally important that Small Businesses responding to this Sources Sought Notice do so with highly effective Capability Statements.”

The call for submittal of capabilities statements comes in DISA’s posting of a sources sought notice on FedBizOpps on September 11, 2014.  The purpose of the sources sought is to determine the availability and technical capability of small businesses to provide a wide range of information technology services to the U.S. Cyber Command, including assistance for offensive and defensive cyber operations.

The sources sought notice is a precursor to an anticipated indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity IT contract which will be open only to small businesses.  Small businesses are being sought to provide support for cyber planning, training knowledge, records management, science and technology research and development, and more than 30 cyber exercises a year.

The small businesses that DISA is seeking to identify include Small Disadvantaged Businesses, HUBZone Firms; Certified 8(a), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, and Woman Owned Small Business.

The primary place of performance will be at USCYBERCOM Government facilities within the Ft. George G. Meade, MD local area. Local area is any facility within a 50 mile radius of Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Responses to the sources sough are due not later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on September 29, 2014.

DISA’s sources sought notice may be seen at:

For background information on the “sources sought” process, read:

For general information on putting together a capabilities statement, read:

Clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center may ask their assigned counselor for a sample capabilities statement as well as for a review of their capabilities statement before submitting it in response to any sources sought notice.


SBA will help you determine your 8(a) or HUBZone eligibility on Aug. 13

August 6, 2014 by

The Georgia District Office of the Small Business Administration will be conducting its monthly 8(a) and HUBZone Eligibility Workshop on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon.

At this event attendees will be given an overview of the eligibility requirements for 8(a) and HUBZone certifications, and other procurement-related information.

The workshop will be held at 233 Peachtree St., NE, Ste. 1900, Harris Tower, Peachtree Center Mall, Atlanta, GA 30303.

You must pre-register in order to attend.  Register on-line at:

Note: This workshop will be repeated on Sept. 10, 2014.  You may register for it at:

Subcontracting uncertainty means no HUBZone price preference required, says GAO

July 28, 2014 by

An agency properly refused to apply the HUBZone price preference when the agency determined HUBZone company’s proposal was unclear as to whether the company would comply with the subcontracting limits set forth in the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s HUBZone price preference clause.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) reasonably refused to apply the HUBZone price preference in a procurement for supplies because the HUBZone company’s proposal suggested that HUBZone companies might perform less than 50% of the manufacturing costs.

The GAO’s decision in Wakan, LLC, B-408535.2 (June 19, 2014) involved a DLA procurement for chicken products.  The procurement included a small business set-aside portion and an unrestricted portion.  The unrestricted portion of the procurement was to be awarded on a lowest-price, technically acceptable basis.

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Small biz size status ordinarily is based on underlying GSA Schedule contract

July 8, 2014 by

When a small business submits an offer for a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued against a GSA Schedule contract, the offeror does not automatically recertify its size.  Rather, a new regulation effective December 31, 2013 provides that an offeror’s size status for a BPA issued against a GSA Schedule ordinarily is determined by looking to the offeror’s self-certification for the underlying GSA Schedule contract.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals relied, in part, on the new regulation to find that an offeror had not recertified its small business status by submitting a quotation for a BPA to be issued against the offeror’s GSA Schedule contract.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Total Systems Technologies Corp., SBA No. SIZ-5562 (2014) involved a Homeland Security RFQ for business management support at the Coast Guard’s C4IT Service Center.  The Coast Guard issued the RFQ under the MOBIS Schedule 874, and stated that the RFQ would result in the award of a single BPA.  The RFQ was set aside for HUBZone firms.

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GSA to hold industry day in Atlanta for HUBZone and SDVOSB firms on May 28

May 21, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) is planning an Industry Day focusing on Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) and HUBZone certified small businesses with specific NAICS codes.  The program’s planned presentations will outline contracting and potential subcontracting opportunities in GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS).  GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) also will be presenting.  This event is being facilitated by GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization.

The top NAICS codes for Region 4 PBS:

236220   Commercial and Institutional Building Construction
337214   Furniture
53              Real Estate (includes rental & leasing)
541611    Administrative, Management & General Management Consulting Services
561720   Janitorial Services
561210   Operations and Maintenance
GSA Schedule 70


1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Opening Comments
Chasity Ash, Small Business Technical Advisor, GSA Office of Small Business Utilization
Mildred Quinley, Director, GSA Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU)

1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.  GSA, Federal Acquisition Service
1:45 p.m. –  2:15 p.m. Services Branch, GSA Public Buildings Service
2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.  Small Projects Branch, GSA Public Buildings Service
2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.  Capital and Program Support Branch, GSA Public Buildings Service
3:15 p.m. – 4 :00p.m.  Wrap Up, GSA Office of Small Business Utilization

This event is open to small business firms whose primary NAICS codes are listed above.  Pre-registration is required.  Please send attendee names, company name, address, phone numbers, and email addresses to vog.asgnull@zibllams4r.  Limit two attendees per firm.  Please include your NAICS codes, CAGE code, and HUBZone certification number or SDVOSB status in the email.  Please direct all inquiries to Region 4 OSBU at (404) 331-5103 or vog.asgnull@zibllams4r.

If you are unable to attend this even, a conference line  is being set-up.  Be advised that this will be a “Listen Only Call” and all phones will be muted.  If you have any questions during the call, please email them to vog.asgnull@zibllams4r. The Conference Call-In Number is 559-546-1000 and the Access Code is 584979.

Controversial IT contractor charged with murder

April 8, 2014 by

Braulio Castillo, the president of IT contractor Strong Castle, was arrested April 1 by Loudon County, Va., authorities and charged with first degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Michelle.

Castillo gained notoriety as a result of a June 2013 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that examined the validity of the service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) status enjoyed by the firm he co-owned with his wife.

Castillo’s disability arose from a sports injury incurred at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School. Additionally, Castillo’s firm enjoyed a special status as a HUBZone company under a Small Business Administration program that gives preference to firms located in designated neighborhoods. SBA decertified Strong Castle’s HUBZone status in May 2013, while the Department of Veterans Affairs affirmed Strong Castles SDVOSB status last September.

keep reading this article at: 

HUBZone Summit to be held in Atlanta on April 2nd

February 21, 2014 by

A free, one-day educational and networking conference for HUBZone and other small businesses — featuring one-on-one match-making meetings with federal agencies and prime contractors — will be held in Atlanta on April 2, 2014.

The 3rd Annual Summit for HUBZone small businesses is being held by the HUBZone Contractors National Council.  The event is free, but advance registration is required.

Businesses that register for the Summit by March 21 will have an opportunity to request 15-minute meeting times with participating agencies and primes.  Contractors must register for the Summit by March 21 to request appointments.  Appointments are not required.  There may be open appointments for those who register after March 21.

The April 2nd Summit is being held at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, located in downtown Atlanta at 61 Forsyth St SW, adjacent to the Five Points MARTA Rail Station.  The building is situated a few blocks from CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Georgia Dome.  Parking is available in many nearby garages.  Summit participants must provide a government-issued ID (such as a valid driver’s license, passport, or federal employee badge) to enter the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center.

To register for the Summit, visit:

April 2, 2014
(subject to change)

Morning9:00 – 10:30 Welcome RemarksFederal Regional Administrators
HUBZone Program Update
  HUBZone Council
Top 10 Strategies for Federal Contracting Success
  Federal OSDBU Directors
10:30 – 11:15 CONCURRENT SESSIONS – Choose one:
Contract Compliance & SBA Compliance Control Panel
  The Centric Group
Market Research: Searching for Opportunities
  Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center
Navigating the HUBZone Application Process
  HUBZone Council
Agency & Prime Contractor Procurement Forecasts
  US Army et al.
11:15 – 12:00 CONCURRENT SESSIONS – Choose one:
Bid Protest Guidelines for Small Business Contractors
  HUBZone Council
Pre- and Post-Award Issues
  Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center
Agency & Prime Contractor Procurement Forecasts
  Battelle et al.

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch on Your Own
1:00 – 3:00 HUBZone Help Desk
1:00 – 4:00
Match-Making Sessions
Small business contractors who register by March 21 will be able to reserve 15-minute appointments with participating agencies and prime contractors.

GSA schedules mentor-protege HUBZone conference in DC on Feb. 24

February 3, 2014 by

On February 24, 2014 small businesses are invited to obtain free training on HUBZone Certifications and the Mentor Protege Program.  This event will include matchmaking with the GSA Acquisition Workforce and representatives of GSA’s Mentor Protege Program. There also will be opportunities for counseling, on-site Mentor Protege applications, and a walk through the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities.

The event is being held at the General Services Administration, 1800 & F Street, NW, Room 1460, Washington, DC 20405.

GSA believes this conference will best benefit businesses in the following industries:

  • Utilities and housekeeping
  • Construction services
  • Maintenance, Repair and Rebuilding of Equipment
  • Professional Administrative and Management Support
  • Architect and Engineering Services
  • Information Technology Services including Telecommunication Services
  • Electrical
  • Janitorial

The agenda for the event is as follows:

  • Small Business Vendor training 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Lunch on your own 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Contracting and Mentor Matchmaking 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Closing Remarks 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The registration deadline is February 10, 2014.  Register on-line here:

For questions, please contact Lucy Jenkins via email at: vog.asgnull@sniknej.ycul.

SBA holds 8(a) and HUBZone eligibility workshop Nov. 13

November 4, 2013 by

The Georgia District Office of the Small Business Administration is holding a workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 to provide an overview of the eligibility requirements for 8(a) and HUBZone certifications, and other procurement related information.

Event Details:

  • Wednesday, November 13, 2013
  • 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Location: 233 Peachtree Street NE, Ste. 1900, Harris Tower-Peachtree Center, Atlanta, GA, 30303

Register at: