Small-Biz Goals Easier to Reach

WASHINGTON (06/12/2000) - Agencies that do business with 8(a) companies on the General Services Administration schedule can get automatic credit toward meeting their 8(a) goals, thanks to an agreement signed last week between GSA and the Small Business Administration.

The memorandum of understanding between GSA and SBA states that any federal agency that does business with an 8(a) company through a scheduled contract will receive credit for it automatically, without having to meet any additional criteria, said SBA spokesman D.J. Caulfield.

"The SBA used to act as a middleman, but we're getting away from that role," Caulfield said. "There are many 8(a) firms on the GSA schedule, but the agencies weren't getting credit for it," and now they will.

In the past, agencies would get credit toward their small business goals for contracts awarded to 8(a) companies through the GSA schedule, but they would not get credit toward specific 8(a) goals, said Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

To qualify as an 8(a) company, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.

Allen said the agreement is a benefit to 8(a) companies and federal agencies and could have been done sooner if not for a lengthy approval process within the SBA.

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