Where to find information on 8(a), HUBZone and Women-Owned Small Business Contracts

The most comprehensive source for information on awarded 8(a), HUBZone and Women-Owned Small Business Contracts is the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).

The FPDS contains historical information on contracts whose estimated value is $3,000 or more.

To gain access to this system you must register. Registration is free.

The FPDS allows you to drill down deep within the data inputted into the system and can provide you valuable information to help in your Federal Marketing efforts.

For example, you can perform the following searches within the system.

1. How much did a specific federal agency spend in the most recently government fiscal year or past years using 8(a), HUBZone or Women-Owned Small Business as the set-aside method.
2. How many 8(a) actions or contracts were awarded within a specific agency. You can also drill down to a specific department, office or region within the agency.
3. Detailed information on the awarded contract such as:

  • The solicitation number
  • Date signed or completed
  • Type of contract
  • NAICS code
  • Product or Service Description
  • Place of Performance (City, State or Zip Code)
  • Competition Information (8(a), HUBZone, Women-Owned, etc.)
  • Name of Contractor

These are just a few of the parameters that you can search on within the FPDS. All of this information can give you a leg up on your competition by allowing you to narrow your marketing efforts to ferderal clients who have purchased your products and services.

Download a report (PDF) that shows the amount spent and the number of contracts awarded with each federal agency in FY 2011.

Here is a summary:
8(a):
Number of Contracts: 117,343
Total Dollars Spent: $16,633,899,024.15

Women-Owned:
Number of Contracts: 318,937
Total Dollars Spent: $16,839,376,300.17

HUBZone:
Number of Contracts: 91,717
Total Dollars Spent: $10,001,960,445.11

For more information on 8(a) Certification, HUBzone Certification or Women-Owned Small Business Certification please call us at 813-333-5800 or visit www.cloveer.com.

 

Can 8a Contracts be Protested?

The size status of the apparent successful offeror for competitive 8a procurement may be protested.

The size status of the participant for a sole source 8a procurement may not be protested by another 8a participant or any other business.

The eligibility of a 8a participant for a sole source or competitive 8a procurement cannot be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business.

An 8a participant cannot appeal the SBA’s determination not to award it a specific 8a contract because the concern lacks an element of responsibility or is ineligible for the contract other than to request a formal size determination where SBA cannot verify it to be small.

The NAICS code assigned to a sole source 8a procurement may not be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business. In connection with a competitive 8a procurement, any business concern who has been adversely affected by a NAICS code designation may appeal the designation to the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.

For more information on the SBA 8a Program, visit cloveer.com

8a Joint Ventures Defined

If approved by the SBA, an 8a Participant may enter into a joint venture agreement with one or more other small business concerns, whether or not the other firms are 8a Participants, for the purpose of performing a specific 8a contract. A joint venture agreement is allowable only where an 8a concern lacks the necessary capability to perform the contract on its own, and the agreement is fair and equitable and will be of substantial benefit to the 8a concern. However, if the SBA concludes that an 8a concern brings very little to the joint venture relationship in terms of resources and expertise other than its 8a status, SBA will not approve the joint venture agreement.  It’s best to discuss your plans to consider a joint venture for a particular 8a contract with your Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS) early in the bidding process so your agreement is appropriately formulated. 

Every joint venture agreement to perform an 8a contract, including those between approved mentors and protégés, must include requirements:

  • Setting forth the purpose of the joint venture;
  • Designating an 8a Participant as the managing venturer of the joint venture, and an employee of the managing venturer as the project manager responsible for performance of the 8a contract;
  • Stating that not less than 51 percent of the net profits earned by the joint venture will be distributed to the 8a Participant(s);
  • Providing for the establishment and administration of a special bank account in the name of the joint venture. This account must require the signature of all parties to the joint venture or designees for withdrawal purposes. All payments due the joint venture for performance on an 8a contract will be deposited in the special account; all expenses incurred under the contract will be paid from the account as well;
  • Itemizing all major equipment, facilities, and other resources to be furnished by each party to the joint venture, with a detailed schedule of cost or value of each;
  • Specifying the responsibilities of the parties with regard to contract performance, source of labor and negotiation of the 8a contract;
  • Obligating all parties to the joint venture to ensure performance of the 8a contract and to complete performance despite the withdrawal of any member;
  • Designating that accounting and other administrative records relating to the joint venture be kept in the office of the managing venturer, unless approval to keep them elsewhere is granted by the District Director or his/her designee upon written request;
  • Requiring that the final original records be retained by the managing venturer upon completion of the 8a contract performed by the joint venture;
  • Stating that quarterly financial statements showing cumulative contract receipts and expenditures (including salaries of the joint venture’s principals) must be submitted to SBA not later than 45 days after each operating quarter of the joint venture; and,
  • Stating that a project-end profit and loss statement, including a statement of final profit distribution, must be submitted to the SBA no later than 90 days after completion of the contract.  

For any 8a contract, including those between mentors and protégés, the joint venture must perform the applicable percentage of work required by SBA regulations, and the 8a partner(s) to the joint venture must perform a significant portion of the contract. 

The 8a firm must submit its request for approval of a joint venture agreement prior to submitting its bid or proposal, the SBA must approve the joint venture agreement prior to the award of an 8a contract on behalf of the joint venture. The SBA must approve all amendments to the joint venture agreement. In addition, the SBA may inspect the records of the joint venture without notice at any time deemed necessary. The joint venture size issues are complex, so it is best that you discuss your individual situation with your BOS.  For more information on becoming 8a certified, visit http://www.cloveer.com.

How does the SBA determine if an 8a applicant business concern is defined as a Small Business?

The 8a applicant business concern must define their primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code with the 8a Application paperwork. The primary NAICS code is the six digit code in which the business concern earned its largest segment of annual receipts or total income, in the most recently completed fiscal or taxable year.

For example, a business concern that earned its largest segment of total income engaged in commercial or institutional building construction would have a primary NAICS code of 236220.

To begin determining if the business concern is defined as a Small Business, the SBA will lookup the size standard for the NAICS code.

For example, the size standard threshold for NAICS code 236220 is $33.5M.

The SBA will then add the amounts reported on the business concerns “Gross Receipts or Sales” line of their business tax return for the last three taxable years and determine its three year total income.

Finally, the SBA will take the three year total income and divide this amount by three to determine its three year average total income.  The three year average income amount is the amount used to determine if the business concern is below the size standard threshold for their primary NAICS code.

In our example, if the business concern’s three year average income is less than $33.5M, the business concern will be classified by the SBA as a “Small Business”.

*Important*

When the SBA examines the size of the business concern they will look for any possible issues involving affiliation. Affiliation arises when the business concern controls another firm or another firm controls the business concern. It can also arise when one individual has the power to control both the business concern and another firm (e.g. this individual owns more than one firm) or there are identical or substantially identical business or economic interests, such as family members, persons with common investments or firms that are economically dependent through contractual or other relationships. The SBA will also consider ownership, management, previous relationships with or ties to another firm, and contractual relationships in determining whether affiliation exists.

If you suspect that you may possibly have an affiliation with another firm, contact Cloveer for further assistance.

What is an 8a Participation Agreement?

Every company that becomes 8a Certified with the SBA must sign a participation agreement.  The agreement is the same for all companies and by signing it, you are agreeing to abide by the 8(a) BD regulations, 13 C.F.R. § 124, which can be found at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_07/13cfr124_07.html.

In addition, you will be agreeing to submit financial statements and tax returns on an annual basis.  For companies with gross annual receipts between $1M and $5M the financials must be reviewed by an independent qualified public accountant.  For companies with gross annual receipts over $5M, the financials must be audited by an independent qualified public accountant.

The participation agreement also provides a list of 26 items that will cause termination from the program. Three examples of occurrences that can cause termination of your company from the 8a program are:

  1. Failure by the concern to obtain prior written approval from SBA for any changes in ownership, business structure, management, or control.  Hiring a key officer without prior approval is an example of this.
  2. Failure by the concern to obtain prior SBA approval of any management agreement, joint venture agreement or other agreement relative to the performance of a section 8(a) subcontract.
  3. Failure by the concern to provide SBA with Annual Update reports as required.

An actual Participation Agreement including the complete list of conditions and causes for termination is available for viewing.  For expert assistance with maintaining 8a program compliance and annual reporting requirements, contact Cloveer.

Top 5 Myths about doing business with the federal Government

Myth #1 – “Only Big Companies Win Contracts”

Fact – Preferential treatment is actually give to small, minority, woman, handicapped and service disabled owned business. Small businesses get awarded more than 25% of all federal contracts.

In FY 2009: Small businesses were awarded 92.7 billion dollars in contracts with an average award of $27,000 per contract. Better yet:

In FY 2009, 8a Certified businesses were awarded 16.2 billion dollars in contracts with an average award of $158,000 per contract. That is 7 times the size of a federal contract that is awarded for all other small set-aside business types.

Myth #2 “The Federal Government Does Not Buy My Product or Service”

Fact – The federal government buys nearly every product and service you can imagine.

In FY 2009 the federal government awarded over 61,000 contracts totaling more than $16.6 billion dollars just for Commercial Construction projects. For IT companies, they awarded over 20,000 contracts totaling more than $5.5 billion dollars just for Custom Computer Programming projects. If you would like to know exactly how much the federal government spent on your products or services, visit https://www.fpds.gov

Myth #3 “There Is Too Much Red Tape To Do Business With The Federal Government”

Fact – The federal government has procurement methods such as the SBA 8(a) Program which actually shorten the time it takes to be awarded a contract and the amount of paperwork and red-tape required to do so.

An 8(a) contract typically takes about 1/10 the time to be awarded vs. a full and open competition contract. You can even help in writing the actual statement of work and 8(a) Contracts are not subject to protests.

Myth #4 ” I Am Not Located In Washington, DC Or Near A Military Base So I Can’t Do Business With Them”

Fact – There are federal facilities located in every state, city and country. This being said, you are not limited by your geographical location.

Myth #5 “It’s Difficult To Get Started Doing Business With The Federal Government”

Fact – Again, the federal government has procurement programs that simplify the processes of doing business with them, such as the SBA 8(a) Program, if you are minority, woman, handicapped or service disabled veteran owned business.

If you are looking for a company to assist in the process of getting your business 8(a) Certified, contact us today to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

Small Business Government Contracts – for Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disadvantaged Business Owners

Each year, hundreds of thousands of small business owners around the country apply for SBA loans and SBA grants. The application processes are long, complicated, and highly selective, leaving most applicants without funding.

Unlike government grants and loans however, small business government contracts, the provisions for which are made under section 8a of the Small Business Act can give women, minorities, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and disadvantaged small business owners repeat business at no cost to them. 8a government contracts for minorities, women, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and other disadvantaged individuals are highly sought after for this reason, but complex to obtain. There are however, strategies to overcome this opposition.

Finding Contract Opportunities

There are a few key techniques for finding government contract opportunities, many of which involving simply surfing the Internet:

  • Visit the Federal Business Opportunities website at http://www.fbo.gov. There you can search specifically for 8a contract opportunities, and have targeted opportunities sent to you via e-mail.
  • Research each federal agency’s long-range acquisition estimates (LRAE). Each major federal agency maintains a LRAE which identifies anticipated procurements upcoming that are over $100,000.
  • Contact each federal agency’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) office. OSDBU offices ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are provided maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the agency’s contracting process.
  • Visit the Federal Procurement Data System website. It contains information about every federal procurement that has ever taken place. The website can be found at https://www.fpds.gov
  • Simply arrange a meeting with the contracting officer(s) of whichever federal agency with which you would like to do business. At such a meeting, you can give an informative presentation and market your product(s)/service(s).

Unfortunately, it proves difficult to be awarded a government contract unless you’re SBA 8a certified. This is where we come in.

Getting Certified with Cloveer

The SBA 8a application process is tough, and we know it. That’s why we’re in business; we want to help women, minorities, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and disadvantaged small business owners secure 8a certification, so they are given a fair opportunity to acquire government contracts. After all, Cloveer is a minority owned business.

We having been assisting clients to obtain 8a certification and maintain their 8a program eligibility for over 14 years. As such, we know the SBA 8a program regulatory requirements, 8a standard operating procedures and Office of Hearings and Appeal cases that affect the 8a program better than 99.9% of anyone else out there. We put this experience to work each day through each of our services:

  • 8a Application Review: For those of our clients who have already prepared an application, the 8a application review service ensures that not only is your application complete, but that it is in fact 8a eligible.
  • 8a Application Completion: Many of our clients recognize the experience we have in preparing SBA 8a applications. With over 14 years and 2,000 successful application under our belts, we have quite a bit! For these customers, we offer a complete 8a application service. We will prepare everything for you, so you can concentrate on running your business.

No matter which option you choose, Cloveer guarantees that no other company will work harder or faster to assist you in getting your business SBA 8a certified. Contact us today to discover which option works best for you.