What is a set-aside?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Over the last few months, I’ve blogged on the basics of government contracting and selling to government customers – focusing on things like contract vehicles, the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the General Services Administration and federal cybersecurity requirements.

Taken together, those topics describe a basic framework for government procurement and the way industry interacts with it. They also demonstrate that public sector customers (both federal and state/local) behave differently than customers in the commercial space.

However, we haven’t yet addressed one of the most fundamental differences between public and private sector customers: The government, in addition to needing industry to help fulfill its mission, has a broad incentive to encourage economic growth across all sectors of American industry. Often, this growth means prioritizing small businesses over large corporations in contracting – and there are a set of contracting tools, known as set-asides, that enable just that.

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SBA tech transformation underway, but more work needs to be done

By Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

When Maria Roat took the tech reins at the Small Business Administration last year, she promised to transition a large portion of the agency’s systems to the cloud. Things seem to be well underway, based on the chief information officer’s recent speech at the Citizen Engagement Summit hosted by FCW.

While SBA has made great strides since Roat, the former chief technology officer at the Department of Transportation, took over, tech companies still have opportunities to shape the future of IT at the SBA.

So far the agency has rebuilt SBA.gov’s interface, making it easier for small business owners to apply for loans and giving them easier access to loan processes and information. The website is also now mobile, giving internal and external customers more flexibility in how they use SBA’s services, which is a nice victory for Roat’s new leadership.

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What is government contracting?

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85what-isBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Are you surprised by our headline? Don’t be. Selling to the government is like doing business with a foreign country. It has its own culture, language and customs and it’s truly unlike doing business in the commercial world.

Our industry is so full of terms and nuances that are hard for many of us to define to a layperson, which is why we’re kicking off a monthly “What is…” blog series to help alleviate some of the head scratching. So let’s get started.

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Can SBA’s New CIO Modernize the Small Agency?

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85sba-logoBy Kevin Shaker, Analyst

Maria Roat has left her position as chief technology officer of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to assume a new role as chief information officer at the Small Business Administration (SBA), replacing Renee Macklin.

If we look at her work at DOT, we may get a sense for how SBA’s IT shop will evolve under Roat’s leadership. For the last two years, she’s been responsible for issuing policy, planning milestones, and assessing the DOT’s IT framework, as well as establishing the IT Shared Services group within DOT’s Office of the CIO. She had also helped create the DOT Common Operating Environment, which is the cornerstone of DOT’s shared services. It’s comprised of the cloud IT infrastructure platform for non-FAA administrators.

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Do You Qualify for the New Small Business Size Standards?

Jeff Ellinport_Gov Sales Insider_65 x 88by Jeff Ellinport, Deputy General Counsel

The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) is changing its revenue based size standards to account for more than five years of inflation since the last adjustment. The new size standards take effect on July 14, 2014 and affect almost one-half of the NAICS code industries including services, information, construction and retail. With this adjustment, theSBA Seal largest revenue-based small business size standards will be $38.5 million, up from $35.5 million. This adjustment is separate from the SBA’s comprehensive review of all size standards required every five years by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Businesses may want to review the new size standards to determine whether they now qualify as a small business concern. Additionally, current government contractors should make sure their certifications are up to date based on these new size standards in the System for Award Management (SAM). You can read the SBA’s announcement here:  http://www.sba.gov/content/what%27s-new-with-size-standards

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