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Every Day is Small Business Saturday in Government Procurement Acquisition & Contracting

Every Day is Small Business Saturday in Government Procurement Acquisition & Contracting

By Ingrid Kussmaul

When the Federal Government and Large-Business Government Contractors purchase something between $10,000 and $250,000, the procurement is earmarked specifically for Small Businesses. It may seem counterintuitive to use a Small Business when purchasing items needed by an entity with the buying power of a Federal Government agency or Large-Business Government Contractor. 

However, the Government has built in several rules and regulations ensuring it contracts with Small Businesses whenever possible. The guides used by Contracts Specialists/Officers and Acquisitions personnel when procuring something with Government funds are found in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Parts 124.503(j)125.2(f), 125.22125.23126.607(b)127.503(d), and Subpart 19.5 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

The rules are not the only assistive entity the Federal Government has set in place to work with Small Businesses to help them grow and navigate successfully in the Federal Acquisition world. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) are also set up in every state, sometimes with more than one office depending on the size of the state. The use of a PTAC is free of charge for a Small Business and is a wealth of knowledge and information to grow small businesses and acclimate them to Federal Procurement.

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are usually in Colleges or Universities, but the PTAC representative is a Federal Government employee. PTAC Representatives assist Small Businesses new to Federal Government Acquisition with certifying what type of Small Business that company qualifies as, setting up the company in SAM (Systems for Award Management), and networking events to get the small business exposed to potential agencies and other Small Businesses in the area. Find your local PTAC here.

SAM or System for Award Management is the index where companies are registered to perform on any purchase or contract with a Federal Government agency or contractor.  Once a Small Business registers in SAM, it is provided with a UEI (Unique Entity Identifier), almost like a Social Security Number for the business. SAM is updated every 30 days and lets Federal agencies and contractors know that this business is in good standing to do business. There are occasions for a company to be reported as “debarred” or excluded from doing business with the government, often due to tax reporting issues. Businesses can also use SAM to search for Contract proposal opportunities.

Types of Small Business

A Small Business, as indicated by the type of business a company identifies as under the North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes can fall under one or more types of Small Business designations or concerns. Below are a few Small Business designations:

SB (Small Business)

According to the SBA, a size standard is assigned to each NAICS code. Most manufacturing companies with 500 employees or fewer, and most non-manufacturing businesses with average annual receipts under $7.5 million, will qualify as a small business.

VOSB & SDVOSB (Veteran Owned & Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business)

Every year, the federal government awards a portion of contracting dollars specifically to businesses owned by veterans. Also, small businesses owned by veterans may be eligible to purchase surplus property from the federal government. And according to the SBA, The federal government aims to award at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs each year.

WOSB (Woman-Owned Small Business)

As stated on the SBA website, the federal government's goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program. As of 2020, certification is required.

EDWOSB (Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business)

To qualify as an EDWOSB within the program, a business must meet all the requirements of the WOSB Federal Contract program, in addition to several other criteria surrounding net worth, income and personal assets of the business owners and controlling partners. Certification is required as of 2020. Find more about the certification process and eligibility requirements for WOSB & EDWOSB.

8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) designation is reserved for companies owned and controlled by at least 51% socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Businesses that participate in the program receive training and technical assistance designed to strengthen their ability to compete effectively in the American economy. Also eligible to participate in the 8(a) program are small businesses owned by Alaska Native corporations, Community Development Corporations, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations. Learn more about specific eligibility criteria.

HUBzone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone)

HUBzones vary from year to year, and it’s always good to take a look at a HUBzone map. You can search the map by address and there it shows you whether or not the Small Business lies within a HUBzone and if there are any pending actions (via the corresponding key on the map).  

HUBzones are unique because 3% of all Federal Prime Contracts must be awarded to HUBzone companies.

In conclusion, while purchasing or issuing contracts to a large business may seem like the faster, easier, and less expensive way to proceed in Federal Government Acquisition, it is not the focus of the Federal Government. Acquisition, Procurement and Contracting must abide by these rules because it prevents conglomerates from taking over everything and gives Small Businesses the first shot and in the window of $10,000 to $250,000, it gives small businesses the only shot at tapping into the Federal Government pipeline.

Are you interested in a government career or within the private sector leading your company’s business dealings with the government? The University of Dayton School of Law's Government Contracting program offers a unique opportunity to transition to these exciting careers. With convenient evening classes that are 100% online, the Government Contracting program provides students with sought-after expertise in legal subjects necessary to thrive in all contracting and acquisition roles. Earn your degree in as little as one year.Government Contracting Program Banner

Government Contracting and Procurement Program


Phone: (937) 229-1501


Government Contracting and Procurement

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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2772