|Government Contracting Assistance|
The federal government is the largest buyer in the world and small businesses are often at a disadvantage when trying to win federal contracts, but the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help overcome the barriers. Working closely with federal agencies and the nation’s leading large contractors, the SBA works to ensure that small businesses obtain a fair share of government contracts and ubcontracts. The SBA has a number of programs to help small firms do business with the federal government:
Through the Prime Contracts Program the SBA helps to increase the small business share of government contracts. It also advocates for the breakout of items purchased through full and open competition. SBA procurement center representatives (PCRs) work to expand contracting opportunities for small businesses. PCRs review contracting actions at major federal procurement centers, review the subcontracting plans, recommend contracting sources and provide counseling.
There are two types of PCRs: traditional and breakout. Traditional PCRs work to increase the number of procurements set aside for small businesses. Breakout PCRs work to remove components or spare parts from solesource procurements to procurements through open competition, which generates savings for the federal government.
The Subcontracting Assistance Program promotes the full utilization of small businesses by the nation’s major prime contractors. The Agency’s Commercial Marketing Representatives (CMRs) concentrate on large businesses that have one or more federal contracts in excess of $500,000.
The CMR will review these large companies’ subcontracting plans in order to identify small business sources to satisfy specific needs of the prime contractor.
The Certificate of Competency Program (COC) helps small businesses secure Federal contacts by providing an appeal process to lowbidder firms denied government contracts for a perceived lack of ability or financial resources to perform the work. A small firm may apply to the SBA for a Certificate of Competency (CoC) when they are low bidder on such a contract but are considered by the contracting agency to be unable to complete the work. The CoC is a document indicating that the firm with the low bid has the plant or financial capacity to complete the contract. A plant survey and financial analysis of the firm is performed by SBA personnel. Within 15 workdays of receipt of the referral, the firm and contracting officer are notified of SBA’s decision regarding the CoC. Issuance of the CoC to the successful low bidder usually results in savings to the government over the next low bid.
The Size Determination Program ensures that only small firms receive contracts and other benefits set aside exclusively for small business. When a firm’s claim that it is small is challenged, the SBA size specialists determine if the firm does, in fact, meet established SBA size standards. Size determinations may also be made when requested in connection with other federal contracting programs.
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