This month brings good news for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs): The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering new information designed to enhance opportunities for that segment of the federal contracting market. The data is from a new program that identifies a greater number of industries that are eligible industries for the WOSB Federal Contracting Program, which provides set-aside and sole-source contract opportunities to small business concerns owned and controlled by women.
The move stems from research conducted in fiscal 2020, when the SBA contracted with an independent firm to study the representation of WOSBs in government procurement at the industry level. The firm used a methodology similar to that developed by Kauffman-RAND Institute for Entrepreneurship Public Policy for the WOSB Program study issued in 2007. As with the RAND study, the firm’s study defined industries using 4-digit North American Industry Classification System codes and compared two WOSB utilization rates to the WOSB availability rate in each industry.
And what did the SBA find? That a total of 759 NAICS code industries are eligible for federal contracting under the WOSB Program. That number includes 113 NAICS code industries in which WOSBs are underrepresented. That means that contracting officers can make Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses set-aside and sole-source awards in these industries; and there are also 646 NAICS code industries in which WOSBs are substantially underrepresented, meaning contracting officers can make WOSB set-aside and sole-source awards in these industries.
EDWOSB concerns are eligible to be considered for WOSB and EDWOSB set-aside and sole-source awards for all 759 NAICS code industries. These new designations are effective immediately.
Although neither the statute nor SBA’s regulations permit SBA to designate all industries as eligible, the results of the new study designate 759 of 891 procurement NAICS codes as eligible for either WOSB or EDWOSB procurement procedures. That’s more than 85 percent of the procurement NAICS codes.
Using fiscal 2021 data, these NAICS codes account for 92 percent of the federal government’s small-business spending.
Business owners who have been frustrated in their efforts to enter the federal marketplace might find solace ― and hopefully make progress ― by reading From Pandemic to Prosperity: Bipartisan Solutions to Support Today’s Small Businesses, a new report from Goldman Sachs and the Bipartisan Policy Center. It’s part of the corporation’s 10,000 Small Businesses Voices (or GS10KSBV) initiative.
The barriers to entry for small businesses looking to win business with the federal government are too high, according to the report, and the government has failed to meet some of its own goals for subcategories.
The report goes on to examine key categories, including Workforce, Access to Capital, Child Care, and Procurement and Government Contracting, and presents some stark facts. Consider this eye-popper: From 2010 to 2019, the number of small businesses providing common products and services to the federal government shrank by 38 percent; and the number of new small business entrants into the federal procurement marketplace fell by 79 percent.
On the flip side, it also offers potential solutions to such problems. To check out the easy-to-read the summary of the report, go to www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000-small-businesses/US/voices/policy-agenda/documents/2022-report-summary.pdf.
This isn’t an oft-discussed topic, but there are individuals in the government contracting arena who repeatedly commit fraudulent acts. To learn how these situations can predictably end, read on.
Stephanie Dianna Elliott, Fayetteville, N.C., has been sentenced to nine years in prison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina after pleading guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Court documents state that she defrauded the Department of Defense by obtaining contract payments after falsely certifying that she had shipped supplies to the U.S. military.
Elliott allegedly circumvented debarments by using aliases and various business names to continue bidding; she racked up more than 1,000 federal defense contracts valued at more than $2.2 million.
Also consider the actions of Tanner Jackson, Celeste, Texas, who was sentenced to 33 months in prison for a wire fraud scheme involving the selling of Chinese-made military helmets, body armor and other products to the Department of State and other federal agencies while falsely claiming that his company manufactured the goods in Texas.
To conceal the Chinese origin of the products and associated shipping delays, Jackson used email accounts in the names of supposed shipping company employees and wrote email exchanges between himself and the bogus employees to explain shipping delays.
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.