Feds seek input on small-business contracting

Federal officials want to hear about small-business contracting issues as they look for ways to get more small businesses into federal marketplace.

They are interested in comments on:

  • Removing barriers to small-business participation
  • Using innovative strategies and technologies to increase opportunities for small business contractors and
  • Identifying successful agency and private-sector outreach practices for matching small businesses with contracting and subcontracting opportunities.

President Barack Obama formed two interagency working groups that will look for ways to award more federal contracts to small businesses. Obama signed an executive order April 26 that established an interagency task force that will seek to develop opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses. He also signed a memo that established an interagency task force to help small businesses win more federal contracts.

In a June 14 Federal Register notice, officials posed this list of questions:

  • How can the government improve subcontracting practices, such as tracking and evaluating subcontracting plans?
  • How can prime contractors be more effectively held responsible for their subcontracting plans?
  • What aspects, if any, of the rules governing set-asides should be changed?
  • What strategies best mitigate the effects of contract bundling?
  • Are there specific examples that might be shared as success stories or models for agencies to follow in mitigating contract bundling?
  • What types of training would improve small businesses’ ability to participate in the federal marketplace and what are the best ways to deliver this training to the small-business community?
  • What federal organizations do the best job in their small business outreach strategies? What specific practices do they employ that are most helpful?
  • What technology systems and applications are most helpful to small businesses in finding contracting opportunities?
  • What improvements can be made to existing technologies and what new applications might be considered to make doing business with the federal government easier and more attractive?
  • What is the best way to train people in the procurement process?

Federal officials are willing to take comments via e-mail messages at SB_TaskForce_Comment@sba.gov. They are also planning a public meeting on June 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Commerce Department, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW in Washington. A meeting agenda is forthcoming, and will be available at the Small Business Administration Web site.

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