July 8, 2014 by cs
You probably know that the federal government’s definition of a small business is based on either the number of people that a company employs or the amount of revenue it earns annually. The number-of-employees or the gross-revenue standards are applied to individual North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. One or more NAICS codes apply to every business.
Thus, in order to determine whether a company is a small business in the eyes of the government, one must first determine which NAICS code or codes apply to the business, and then see what size standard (employees or revenue) applies to each NAICS code. If a business has fewer employees or earns less annual revenue (averaged over the past three years) than the standard, then that business can represent itself to the federal government as a small business. This is an important determination to make since the federal government sets an annual goal of awarding 23 percent of its contract dollars to small businesses.
It’s been more than five years since the Small Business Administration (SBA) updated the revenue size standards for small businesses. Therefore, as of July 14, 2014, the SBA is adjusting virtually all of its size standards that are based upon revenue, to account for the years of inflation since the last adjustment.
The forthcoming adjustment affects almost half of all NAICS code categories. In all, 476 industrial categories will be affected by the update, including most service, construction, retail, agricultural and transportation industries.
With these increases, the new small business size standards range between $5.5 million and $38.5 million.
Using the Gross Domestic Product price index to obtain the most comprehensive measure of inflation, the SBA determined that the amount of inflation that occurred between the first quarter of 2008 and the last quarter of 2013 was 8.73 percent. The SBA then calculated the new size standards by multiplying the current size standards by 1.0873 and then rounding that total to the nearest $500,000. After these adjustments,
This latest adjustment of the revenue-based size standards for inflation is separate from the comprehensive review of all size standards that the SBA is supposed to perform at least every five years.
The new size standards can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SBA-2014-0009-0001. Busineeses have until August 11, 2014 to submit any comments on these rules which technically are “interim final rules” at this point.
Because these new size standards will apply to certificates of small business size status signed on or after July 14, 2014, small (and near-small) businesses should review the new size standards to determine whether they now qualify as a small business concern. Businesses also should visit the System for Award Management (SAM) and verify that their profile and certifications are up to date based on the revised size standards.
See more details on the SBA’s website at: http://www.sba.gov/content/what%27s-new-with-size-standards.
July 1, 2014 by cs
The federal government is falling short of its goals for awarding contracts to small businesses in some industries where it spends the most money, according to the Small Business Administration.
The government has an overall goal of giving 23 percent of its contracting dollars to small businesses. It has routinely missed that goal in recent years.
An analysis of federal spending by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy shows small businesses got less than 12 percent of contracting dollars spent at manufacturers during the 2012 fiscal year. The government spent nearly $200 billion on manufacturing contracts, the most in a single industry.
One problem is not the number of contracts going to small businesses, but the amount of those contracts, the analysis says. And in industries like manufacturing, a high amount of contract dollars go to a small number of companies — for example, defense contractors like Lockheed Martin Corp. or Boeing Co. that each get billions of dollars annually.
One concern continually raised by lawmakers is that some large companies with federal contracts don’t live up to agreements to give subcontracts to small businesses.
Small businesses, meanwhile, got 22.5 percent of the $141 billion spent at companies providing professional, scientific and technical services. They received 21.3 percent of the $43 billion spent at companies providing administrative and support, waste management and restoration services.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.inc.com/associated-press/small-businesses-contracts-fall-short.html
June 19, 2014 by cs
Ask any small-business chief executive competing in the federal market, and he or she will tell you that finding a niche within the competitive spectrum has become increasingly difficult.
Some small businesses find themselves competing against larger businesses that have ventured into smaller contracts. With the Small Business Administration’s changes to business size standards in 2012, some small businesses also find themselves competing against much larger — but now small, by definition — businesses for set-asides.
Despite these challenges, the current government contracting environment encourages small-business participation. More than $51 billion in 2013 contract obligations went to small business via set-aside contracts, and although the total dollar figure is declining, the percentage of total obligations is increasing.
Small-business contracting continues to be a priority for contracting offices, which are under increasing scrutiny regarding small-business utilization. These offices have the burden of proof and must justify not using a set-aside for certain requirements. The Obama administration and Congress are also helping shape the path with policies that address small-business competition.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/when-it-comes-to-winning-contracts-small-businesses-need-to-think-strategically/2014/06/06/64bc1b7e-ea6b-11e3-b98c-72cef4a00499_story.html
June 18, 2014 by cs
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is repeating its three-day course that delves into the intricacies of the federal government’s Small Business Programs. The course focuses on the government agencies’ efforts to improve small business participation in both prime contracting and subcontracting.
Because of its relevance and popularity, the course is now scheduled to be held:
- July 8 – 10, 2014
- October 7 – 9, 2014
These classes will be held in the world-class Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta. Registration details may be found by clicking here.
Known as “CON 260B – Small Business Programs,” the course is a Defense Acquisition University (DAU) level 2 contracting course that goes a long way to ensure that those in the acquisition field are more aware of and responsive to small business concerns. Historically, this class was designed for small business specialists, however The Academy has fashioned this class so that it is applicable to all interested parties – senior executives, managers, contracting officers and contracting staff, small business specialists from all agencies, small business advocates, as well as large and small business concerns.
A review of DAU’s prerequisite course, CON 260A, is included in the Contracting Academy’s course.
Small business participation in federal contracting is a high-profile issue. For example, a recent Dept. of Defense (DoD) memo (seen here) reiterates how essential small businesses are to our nation’s economic recovery because they produce more jobs, represent a major source of innovative solutions to warfighter needs that help maintain our status as the world’s finest military, and contribute more to gross domestic output. The Contracting Academy is committed to supporting DoD and other agency directives aimed at achieving higher levels of small business participation in federal contracting.
All leaders who manage budgets and allocate funds for contracts and contracting officers are collectively responsible for achieving the government’s 23 percent small business goal. To ensure that this collective responsibility is met, many federal agencies’ senior executives are evaluated and held accountable for small business participation in contracting. A mandatory performance requirement for supporting this goal includes language that “establishes a command or program climate that is responsive to small business concerns.”
The Academy’s CON 260B is very relevant to the training needs of everyone involved in the process of seeing to it that small businesses participate in government contracting and subcontracting opportunities. This includes, of course, small businesses themselves — as well as large businesses who are required to establish small business subcontract participation plans.
The Academy offers CON 260B, a 3-day course, as an open enrollment course which virtually ensures seating for all registrants. Register here for the next CON 260B – Small Business Programs class at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
2.1 CEUs are granted to those successfully completing this course.
June 10, 2014 by cs
The vast majority of federal procurement is happening in four sectors — only one of which meets its goals for divvying contract dollars to small businesses.
According to a report from the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, more than 80 percent of federal procurement was concentrated in these categories in fiscal 2012:
- Manufacturing, with nearly $200 billion.
- Professional, scientific and technical services, with about $141 billion.
- Administration and support, waste management and remediation, with about $43 billion.
- Construction, with about $35.44 billion.
But within that massive chunk of contract spending, how much is making its way to small business? For three of the four categories, not enough to meet the federal goal of 23 percent, according to the report.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/06/4-sectors-where-mostfederal-procurement-is.html
June 3, 2014 by cs
Sometimes, it’s the most subtle nuances in a phrase that matter most — and for small government contractors, that appears to be the case in the federal procurement rulebook.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation, a long list of government-wide contracting rules established by the heads of several federal agencies, requires all large companies bidding on prime contracts to specify what percentage of the money awarded would flow through to small-business subcontractors.
The rule is meant to ensure that small firms “have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in performing contracts,” according to the FAR, and to help the government meet its annual goal of awarding 35.9 percent of all subcontracting dollars to small companies. Collectively, federal agencies have missed that mark each of the last five years.
Bob Justis says one odd word on page 1,343 in the rulebook isn’t helping.
“Out of all your planned subcontracting dollars, you’re required to set aside some percentage of that for small businesses,” Justis, head of Justis Consulting, a contracting proposal development firm based in Washington, said in a recent interview. “However, it’s required to be stated as a percentage of your total subcontract dollars — not as a percentage of the total contract dollars.”
It’s a subtle but important distinction, Justis explained, because a large prime contractor can, based on that rule, pledge to commit 40 percent of its subcontracting dollars to small businesses. If the company then handles all the work itself, resulting in a total subcontracting spend of zero, it still met its small-business subcontracting goal.
After all, 40 percent of nothing is nothing.
Keep reading this article at: http://m.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/how-one-small-word-change-could-mean-many-more-contracting-dollars-for-small-businesses/2014/05/22/30b4c0d8-e106-11e3-9743-bb9b59cde7b9_story.html
May 29, 2014 by cs
The defense policy bill that cleared the House May 22 is controversial for multiple reasons, most stemming from its rejection of many of the Obama administration’s cost-cutting proposals in troop compensation, military bases and weapons systems.
But deep inside the 700-plus page National Defense Authorization Act are also provisions to open more federal contracting opportunities to small businesses, and some of these measures are troubling to major contractors.
“The contracting amendments offered to the NDAA are common-sense reforms that will provide opportunities for small companies trying to break into the federal marketplace,” said Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., chairman of the House Small Business Committee. “These amendments address many of the barriers created due to the federal procurement system’s bureaucracy and inefficiency.”
The Graves-sought provisions include one to increase the government-wide small business prime contracting goal from 23 percent of contracting dollars to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent subcontracting goal. Another would require that the administration publish contract bundling and consolidation justifications before issuing requests for proposals for awards under the General Services Administration-run Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative.
keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/management/2014/05/house-defense-bill-would-raise-small-business-contracting-goals/85249/
April 28, 2014 by cs
For the first time in seven years, all federal agencies in fiscal 2013 met their goals of steering 23 percent of contracting to small businesses, according to panelists at an industry conference on Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014.
Emily Murphy, senior counsel for the House Small Business Committee, in a discussion on legislation and the Small Business Administration’s rulemaking progress, made the disclosure and suggested that SBA is tardy in making the announcement.
Her co-panelist, Kenneth Dodds, SBA’s director of policy, planning and liaisons, said the announcement “deadline is soft,” and that the score card is still being readied.
The Small Business conference was staged by the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and is intended as an opportunity for small business contractors to interact with agency representatives on how to qualify and win more work.
April 21, 2014 by cs
U.S. attorneys, the FBI, labor and transportation officials announced on April 7, 2014 that Connecticut-based construction company Manafort Brothers, Inc. will pay $2.4 million and implement internal reforms subject to independent monitoring to resolve a multi-agency joint criminal and civil investigation into alleged fraud committed by the company in connection with a public works project that commenced in 2007.
As part of the resolution, Manafort admitted that it made false statements to the United States and the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation that disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) performed subcontracted work on the federally and state funded relocation of Route 72 when, in fact, non-DBE performed the work.
Manafort submitted a bid to ConnDOT to serve as the general contractor on a federally and state funded road project. All qualifying bids were required to designate a percentage of work that would be performed by DBE, a requirement designed to provide socially and economically disadvantaged contractors, who have faced historical barriers to entry in the construction industry, with fair opportunities to compete for federally funded work.
The State of Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) determined that Manafort was the apparent low bidder for the project with bid of approximately $39,663,000. According to the pre-award bid documents, Manafort represented to ConnDOT that a particular DBE, identified as “Company #1,” would perform work under the contract totaling approximately $3,064,372, or 70 percent of the overall DBE goal. In its pre-award submission package, Manafort stated that Company #1 would furnish all supervision, labor and materials in respect to the work covered by the subcontract agreement. This work involved being responsible for the project’s reinforcing steel, materials for structural steel, furnishing a pedestrian bridge that would span the new roadway and the majority of work for a large retaining wall adjacent to the new highway.
The contract for the project was officially awarded to Manafort in August 2007 based, in part, on its representations that Company #1 would perform the work described in Manafort’s pre-award submission. However, during the course of the project, it was determined Company #1 was not performing most of the work that Manafort claimed it was performing. In fact, the investigation revealed that Manafort was utilizing Company #1 essentially as a pass-through entity. That is, Manafort would negotiate with and supervise subcontractors that it procured to perform work that Company #1 was supposed to perform or procure and supervise. The Government maintains that Manafort arranged to pay those contractors through Company #1 to skirt DBE regulations.
Under the terms of a non-prosecution agreement and civil settlement agreement with the government, Manafort represented that it has undertaken various remedial measures to ensure compliance with the DBE programs for its current and future federally funded construction projects. These measures include establishing a position for an Ethics and Compliance Officer at Manafort, forming a DBE compliance committee that meets regularly to review and address DBE-related issues, mandating DBE compliance training for Manafort employees, deploying software to insure that DBE are qualified to perform the work that they bid, removing the Manafort personnel directly involved in the misconduct, and continuing to assist law enforcement in its investigation. Manafort has also agreed to pay a civil fine of $2,460,722.02.
Manafort sought an unfair and illegal advantage over its competitors and deprived disadvantaged businesses of an opportunity to perform work on this taxpayer funded construction project. The non-prosecution agreement announced by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut addresses only the corporate criminal liability of Manafort, not potential criminal charges for any individual.
More details available at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/ct/Press2014/20140407-1.html.
March 10, 2014 by cs
The House Small Business Committee has marked up and approved a six-pack of contracting reform bills, including legislation that would raise the current agency goals for steering work to small businesses.
The package approved Wednesday would particularly affect the construction industry, women, and disabled veterans. It includes a plan to raise agencies’ small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent goal for small-business subcontractors.
“Greater small business involvement in federal contracting benefits companies and taxpayers alike,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., who sponsored the bill outlining the new contracting goals. “Small firms are innovative, and increased competition often leads to savings for the taxpayers.”
A second Grave bill would “improve transparency and accountability” by discouraging bundling of contracts to give an advantage to large companies over small businesses. Bills sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., would restrict the government’s use of reverse auctions in awarding construction contracts and increase construction companies’ access to surety bonds for use in federal procurement work.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/03/committee-approves-bill-increase-agencies-small-biz-contracting-goals/80023