President Clinton ordered all federal agencies to increase opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses in the $200 billion a year government contracting marketplace. This includes approximately 6,000 companies registered in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program. The President ordered that each agency with procurement authority develop a long-term comprehensive plan to expand opportunities for disadvantaged businesses, particularly 8(a) Program participants, Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Each agency must submit a plan to the Office of Management and Budget within 90 days from the data of the order (10/10/2000).
The order requires contracting federal agencies to take a number of steps designed to increase access to federal prime and subcontracts for 8(a), SDB and MBE companies. The steps include:
- Making sure that disadvantaged businesses are aware of prime contracting opportunities, and that 8(a) sole source opportunities are disseminated to 8(a) firms,
- Increasing the use of prime contractors of 8(a)s and SDB firms as subcontractors to meet their subcontracting goals,
- Encouraging business-to-business relationships, teaming and mentoring,
- Offering increased technical assistance and training to 8(a), SDBs, and increasing training of program and procurement officials on procurement policies regarding 8(a) and SDB firms.
Additional information about SBA’s programs is available at www.sba.gov or by calling the SBA Answer Desk at 800/U ASK SBA.