The Obama administration has pushed agencies to increase contracting opportunities with small businesses, most notably creating a governmentwide task force to share best practices.Yet the federal government, as a whole, has continued to miss its 23 percent small business contracting goal.
In fiscal 2011, federal agencies spent $91.5 billion on small business contracts but were still $5.4 billion short, reaching 21.7 percent of the 23 percent goal. It was the sixth year in a row the government missed the mark.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/1011/3021046/Special-Report-Small-business-contracting-goal-remains-elusive.
Agency efforts to support private entrepreneurs are ineffectual and fragmented, according to Government Accountability Office research on 52 programs in such departments as Agriculture, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.
In a paper dated Aug. 23, auditors identified overlap among initiatives to offer grants, loans and technical training to businesses and found that too few agencies track the assistance they provide, resulting in a failure of 19 programs to meet performance goals.
The report said Agriculture and the Small Business Administration, for instance, “entered into a formal agreement in 2010 to coordinate their efforts to support businesses in rural areas; however, the agencies’ programs that can support startup businesses — such as USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program and SBA’s Small Business Development Centers — have yet to determine roles and responsibilities, find ways to leverage each other’s resources, or establish compatible policies and procedures.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/08/federal-programs-aid-entrepreneurs-overlap/57677/
SBA has developed a new streamlined application to help small business owners bid and compete for contracting opportunities.
The Quick Bond Guarantee Application Agreement is for contracts less than $250,000 and combines the contractor application and SBA’s agreement with the surety to guarantee the bond into one easy-to-use form. The new form, the Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement (SBA Form 990A) is available here.
The streamlined application reduces paperwork for both contractors and surety companies participating in SBA’s Prior Approval Program. The Quick Bond Guarantee Application Agreement helps:
- Reduce processing time,
- Streamline application requirements,
- Speed up the application approval process.
For more information on surety bonds and SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Programs, visit SBA.gov/Surety-Bonds.
The federal government didn’t meet its small-business goals in fiscal 2011, but Deltek analysts expect that agencies might get closer in 2012, thanks to renewed focus by procurement officials.
The Simplified Acquisition Threshold, a government procurement method used for purchases between $3,000 and $150,000, is receiving attention from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, which recently had an independent party analyze contracts equal to or below the threshold.
The investigation found a lack of consistency in reporting this level of contract spending and made clear that many contracting opportunities and dollars are not going to small businesses.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/deltek-one-tool-could-help-agencies-meet-small-business-targets/2012/08/19/4e14e81e-e302-11e1-ae7f-d2a13e249eb2_story.html.
Small businesses are called the engine that drives the American economy—they provide more than half of the nation’s workforce. Billions of your tax dollars are set aside to help small businesses survive. But the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit discovered hundreds of millions of dollars set aside for small businesses, instead go to huge corporations. Dozens of those companies are here in Silicon Valley.
Nationally, $422 billion worth of federal contracts in 2011 were meant to give small business a shot at servicing one of the largest clients in the world—the federal government. The government’s goal is to give at least 23 percent of all federal contracts to small businesses. Instead, year after year, the NBC Bay Area investigation found the government falling short of that goal.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Large-Firms-Land-Small-Business-Set-Asides-163194546.html.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is seeking comment on three proposed rules published in the July 18, 2012 Federal Register that would revise the size definitions for small businesses in the Utilities; Construction; and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sectors. The proposed revisions reflect changes in marketplace conditions.
The proposed rule for the Utilities sector will revise the size standard for nine industries. The rule proposes changing six of the industries dealing with electric power generation, distribution and transmission from revenue-based size standards to an employee based size standard of 500 employees.
It would also increase the size standards for the remaining three industries in the Utilities sector from $7 million to $25.5 million for water supply and irrigation systems, $7 million to $19 million for sewage treatment facilities, and $12.5 million to $14 million for steam and air conditioning supply. SBA estimates as many as 400 additional firms in this sector would become eligible for SBA programs as a result of these revisions.
SBA also proposed increases in size standards for one industry and one sub-industry in the Construction sector. Specifically, SBA proposed to increase the size standard for Land Subdivision from $7 million to $25 million and from $20 million to $30 million for businesses engaged in Dredging and Surface Cleanup activities. SBA estimates that more than 400 additional firms will become eligible for SBA’s programs and services, if adopted.
The SBA’s third proposed rule would increase the small business size standards for 17 industries in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector. As many as 1,450 additional firms could become eligible for SBA’s programs and services if the proposed increases are adopted.
Comments can be submitted on these proposed rules on or before September 17, 2012, at www.regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN numbers:
1. Proposed Rule: Small Business Size Standards; Utilities (NAICS Sector 22) (RIN 3245-AG25)
2. Proposed Rule: Small Business Size Standards; Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (NAICS Sector 71) (RIN 3245-AG36)
3. Proposed Rule: Small Business Size Standards; Construction (NAICS Sector 23) (RIN 3245-AG37)
You may also mail comments to Khem R. Sharma, Chief, Size Standards Division, 409 3rd St., SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416.
As part of an ongoing review of all size standards, the SBA takes into account the structural characteristics within individual industries, including average firm size, the degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends to ensure that small business size definitions reflect current economic conditions within those industries. Under provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA is expected to be conducting a comprehensive review of all size standards for the next several years.
The SBA says the revisions to the size standards in these sectors will:
- enable more small businesses to retain their small business status,
- give federal agencies a larger pool of small businesses to choose from for small business procurement opportunities, and
- help eligible small businesses benefit from SBA’s loan programs.
An SBA-issued White Paper entitled, “Size Standards Methodology”, which explains how the SBA establishes, reviews and modifies its receipts-based and employee-based small business size standards can be viewed at http://www.sba.gov/size. For more information about SBA’s revisions to its small business size standards, click on “What’s New with Size Standards” on SBA’s Web site at: http://www.sba.gov/size.
Agencies have to pay their prime contractors promptly and, in turn, try to get the primes to make faster payments to their small-business subcontractors, and the Office of Management and Budget wants to see their progress.
OMB is requiring two reports—one in six months and the second report a year from now—to assess agencies’ work to get money into the hands of subcontractors faster, according to a memo released July 11.
The reports have three aspects.
Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2012/07/11/prompt-pay-subcontractor-agency-reports.aspx.
The Small Business Administration on Tuesday released its annual score card on federal contract dollars won by small businesses, reporting that contractors meeting the eligibility criteria were awarded $91.5 billion in government work in fiscal 2011, or 21.65 percent of the total.
Current law requires agencies to reach for a goal of awarding 23 percent of contract dollars to qualified small businesses. In the Obama administration’s first three years, SBA reported, the 24 major agencies awarded a total of $286.2 billion in contracts to small businesses, or 22.07 percent, just short of the target. SBA said this represented a $32 billion increase over the three preceding years even as contract spending dropped governmentwide.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/07/small-business-share-contracts-shrunk-slightly-2011-sba-reports/56617/?oref=govexec_today_nl.
Agencies must report on their progress in steering federal contracting set-asides to specific types of small businesses, according to new direction from Joe Jordan, the recently installed White House chief procurement officer.
Joined by Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills, Jordan told agencies in a Wednesday memo to meet their statutory goal for contracting 23 percent with small businesses by considering the use of multiple award contracts with an eye toward “maximizing opportunities for small businesses when agencies make small dollar awards, and strengthening accountability for small business goal achievement.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com//contracting/2012/06/procurement-chief-tells-agencies-focus-small-business-set-asides/56188/?oref=govexec_today_nl.
See Joe Jordan memo at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/follow-up-april_25-2012-meeting-of-the-small-business-procurement.pdf.
Adding to a series of House Republican bills aimed at reforming small business contracting, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., on Monday introduced legislation to reduce fraud by improving procurement training and referring more cases to the Small Business Administration’s inspector general.
The House Small Business Committee earlier this month approved six bills designed to help small businesses win more federal contracts. On Thursday, the panel plans to mark up several more, including the one from Coffman, who chairs the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.
The Contracting Oversight for Small Business Jobs Act (H.R. 4206) would amend the Small Business Act to boost penalties for fraud “so that the cost of litigation will no longer outweigh the government’s recovery,” Coffman’s staffer said .
The legislation also would raise penalties for companies that misrepresent their size and eligibility for small business contracts, while helping firms comply with related rules. According to an email from Coffman’s staff, the bill would provide a “safe harbor” for small businesses that make a “good faith effort” to comply while providing a new statutory framework for the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, which decides which businesses qualify.
The bill also would add new requirements for using the suspension and debarment process to pursue cases of fraud, making greater use of the SBA’s inspector general.
– by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive, March 20, 2012, http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/03/house-small-business-panel-prepares-mark-contractor-bills/41516/#disqus_thread.