Woman-owned small businesses in the 2013 fiscal year have been pulling in contract after contract due to small business set-aside initiative. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (which contains over 2,200 pages of government rules) states very clearly that 23% of all government contracting dollars must be devoted to small business contracts and federal set-asides, especially now that the implementation of the new National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 is underway. The NDAA mandates that the government award 5% of all government contracting dollars to economically-disadvantaged woman owned small businesses and woman-owned small businesses, as well as provide limitless/cap-less contracts to these registered business types. Federal departments have been stressing the importance of these set-asides to their contracting officers more and more each year. As the final fiscal quarter of the year comes to an end, federal officers are beginning to diligently search for properly registered woman-owned small businesses that meet their procurement needs.
Despite all of the spending cuts and the furlough, most federal departments have not only managed to meet their woman-owned small business quota, but have metaphorically smashed through it. Tracey Pinson, a small business specialist at the Army Department, stated that 4.5% of its overall contracts were awarded to woman-owned businesses. Lisa Jenkins, a small business specialist with the TSA, stated 3.4% of their department’s contracts have also been devoted to woman-owned small businesses. Linda Waters, a small business specialist at the Health and Human Services Department (the federal government’s second largest awarder of contracts after the DOD) also commented by stating her department exceeded the federal set-aside goal by awarding 6.43%, or roughly $1.2 billion, just to properly registered woman-owned small businesses.
According to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), the United States Federal Government spent $517 billion dollars last year. The Small Business Administration (SBA) stated that only 22% was devoted to small business. However, organizations like the American Small Business League (ASBL) report otherwise. Lloyd Chapman, President of the ASBL and friend of GovernmentContractingTips.com, stated that 57 out of the 100 biggest companies in America were labeled as small businesses in order to fraudulently win federal contracts in fiscal year 2012. Some of these businesses include Chevron, Apple, GE, AT&T, CVS, Disney, and Pepsi. This evidence shows that millions of dollars set aside for small businesses was being awarded to large businesses that do not meet the federal qualifications. According to Mr. Chapman this has been an on-going issue over the past decade, resulting in the loss of billions of funds that were set-aside for small business.
Businesses must be registered in System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be eligible for federal government contracts and set-asides. Businesses should also be registered in DSBS (Dynamic Small Business Search) in order for procurement officers to recognize their small business set-aside eligibility. Procurement Officers use DSBS to search for businesses that fulfill a certain set-aside requirement. This is to make sure they hit their set-aside quota for the year in accordance with FAR.