By Gloria Larkin
There was recently big news out of the Nation’s Capital with the Small Business Administration’s announcement that the Biden-Harris Administration exceeded its small business contracting goal of 23% in fiscal 2022. When all was said and done, that number reached an all-time high of 26.5%.
This historic level amounted to $162.9 billion for contracts of all types throughout the nation and an $8.7 billion increase from the previous fiscal year. Ten federal agencies went to the head of their respective classes with an A+ rating for their agencies’ achievements in small business contracting; an additional 10 agencies received an A grade.
Overall, the federal government earned an A on this year’s scorecard. That is great, but there is more:
- For the second consecutive year, Small Disadvantaged Business spending exceeded its 11% goal (which was increased from 5% previously).
- Service-disabled Veteran-owned small business spending exceeded its 3% goal, reaching 4.6% ― which translates to $28.1 billion in procurement, thus a $3 billion spending increase from the previous year.
- Historically Underutilized Business Zone small businesses also represented a new record, with $16.3 billion in federal contracts awarded.
- Women-owned Small Businesses received more than $26 billion for the fourth year in a row. That accounted for 4.6% of the fiscal 2022 dollars that were available and was just slightly below the 5% target. However, the funds amounted to $1.56 billion, a 17% surge.
- With more than 92% of federal spending covered by North American Industry Classification System codes eligible for WOSB set-aside awards, the SBA remains dedicated to collaborating with contracting agencies, actively pursuing future changes to achieve the 5% WOSB goal.
- In addition, the federal government achieved its small business subcontracting goals, awarding 30.9%, which is $79.1 billion, to small business subcontractors.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced its final rule revising the Davis-Bacon Act ― which establishes the requirement for paying the local prevailing wages on public works projects for laborers and mechanics working on federally funded or assisted contracts ― and Davis-Bacon Related Acts regulations, which are its largest, most significant revisions in the last 40 years.
Currently, DOL determines a locality’s prevailing wage by identifying a rate paid to the majority of workers in the locality, with a sample size of at least 50 percent of workers. If no such majority exists, DOL relies on the weighted average paid to workers.
DOL’s Final Rule establishes that the DBRA and wage determinations will be effective “by operation of law;” that is a dramatic change to previous regulations, as DBRA obligations only apply to a contract where the correct Federal Acquisition Regulation clauses and/or wage determinations were incorporated. It also makes significant changes to the Related Acts debarment regulations.
The Final Rule is expected to soon be published in the Federal Register. It will go into effect 60 days from the publication date.
Small, innovative companies want Congress to help them get a bigger share of Defense Department contracts — and have suggestions concerning how that might happen.
Three associations representing small software and technology companies ― the Software Defense Coalition, the Alliance for Commercial Technology in Government, and the National Venture Capital Association ― have asked Congress for pathways to improve their relationships with the Pentagon.
In a letter sent to the leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, the group suggested changes like creating a standard definition of software-as-a-service, increasing the use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA), and increasing eligibility for Small Business Innovation Research programs by encouraging more participation of venture capital firms in SBIR funding.
Under the current rules, a company with a more than 50% investment coming from venture capital is ineligible to participate in the SIBR program unless the company gets a waiver. The letter also recommended changing the rule, as well as reinforcing support for language in the fiscal 2024 House National Defense Authorization Act.
The hope here is that the federal government will do more to assist small companies transfer products from the innovation stage toward the commercial market.
Gloria Larkin is President and CEO of TargetGov, and a national expert in business development in the government markets. Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 1-866-579-1346 x 325 for more information.