Feds to launch new initiative to increase contracting with small, disadvantaged businesses

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, together with U.S. General Services Administration Administrator Robin Carnahan, recently announced a joint effort, an initiative that will help small, disadvantaged businesses participating in the Business Development Program gain access to more federal contract.

Known as the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative, the agreement will establish a pool of 8(a) firms — firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals — to make it easier for procurement officials to locate and contract with small, disadvantaged businesses across industries. Federal agencies will be able to leverage the size and scale of the Multiple Award Schedule marketplace to achieve their SDB contracting goals while they make smart purchasing decisions.

“This joint initiative between the SBA and GSA will increase federal contracting opportunities for thousands of minority-owned and other small, disadvantaged businesses, highlighting the (President Joe) Biden-(Vice President Kamala) Harris administration’s commitment to equity in procurement and delivering against President Biden’s ambitious goal,” Casillas Guzman said. “Our 8(a) small businesses are agile, innovative and positioned for growth, and can further help federal agencies procure the products and services needed to achieve their missions. We look forward to continuing to work with GSA and our federal agency partners to implement the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative and help ensure this valuable small business talent doesn’t sit on the sidelines.”

“We know that America’s diverse small business communities provide tremendous value to our government and to taxpayers,” Carnahan said. “We’re excited about this new pool that will make it easier for federal acquisition professionals to find them, buy from them, help them create jobs and advance agency missions across government.”

This agreement is a collaboration between the SBA and GSA to implement improvements in federal contracting guided by Executive Order (EO) 13985 – Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Following through on Biden’s Day One commitment to advancing equity, the new 8(a) MAS Pool in the GSA Multiple Award Schedule will continue to build on this administration’s historic efforts to provide greater access to federal contracting for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, creating new avenues for more minority-owned small businesses to compete in the federal marketplace.

Customer agencies will be able to place 8(a) directed awards once the MAS solicitation is refreshed and the MAS 8(a) companies are in the pool, beginning later this year.

This initiative will result in increased ordering flexibility under the GSA Schedule program and streamline the acquisition process, further incentivizing agencies to contract with 8(a) firms. It will also provide government buyers with greater access to a large number of 8(a) contractors that will help agencies meet their small and socioeconomic business contracting goals.

“I am very excited about what this joint initiative with the GSA will mean for small businesses and the contracting opportunities it will provide to the smallest of the small,” Larry Stubblefield, acting associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Administrator Guzman, our goal is to try to reach the largest number of small businesses especially those in underserved communities, so they too can reap the rewards of federal contracting opportunities.”