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Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Expand Small Business Access to Federal Contracts Blog Feature
Stephanie Hagan

By: Stephanie Hagan on January 31st, 2024

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Expand Small Business Access to Federal Contracts

Government | 4 Min Read

For small businesses, especially those with GSA Schedule contracts, breaking into the federal market can often feel overwhelming. The challenge? Standing out in a world dominated by larger, more established companies. Small businesses have historically struggled to gain the momentum needed to secure federal contracts. As consultants navigating the complex waters of federal contracting and a small business ourselves, we understand the concerns and frustrations small businesses face.

Recently, the federal government has been working toward making the government marketplace more accessible for small businesses, especially those with socio-economic designations. Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced actions to expand small business access to federal contracts. In this article, we'll explore the Biden-Harris Administration's new actions and how they could impact you as a current or prospective contractor.

What's New: Key Features of the Federal Contracting Changes

The Biden-Harris Administration outlined new actions that are aimed to positively impact small businesses in federal contracts. We’ll cover them below.

New OMB Guidance

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance to all federal agencies to help more small businesses participate in high use federal contracts. This guidance includes strategies for federal agencies to adopt so small businesses can participate in multiple-award contracts, such as the GSA Multiple Award Schedule. The strategies include earlier engagement and planning for multiple-award contracts to maximize opportunities, additional on-ramps to allow for businesses to be added during the period of performance of contract vehicles, and using small business set aside orders for competition.

This action is important because multiple-award contracts account for over 20% of all federal contract dollars. Agencies depend on these contracts because they are more streamlined and cost-effective, meaning they are valuable vehicles for small businesses to be a part of.

Improved Technical Assistance Opportunities for Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also announcing a series of improvements to the popular 7(j) technical assistance program, now called Empower to Grow (E2G) , which is available to Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) located in areas of high unemployment or low income. This includes customized one-on-one training, networking and matchmaking events, and guiding companies through the process of pursuing government contracts.

Recent Changes to Support Small Business Contractors

These actions are not the only changes we’ve seen in the past few years to improve the support for small businesses. Other recent updates include:

  • The SBA expanding its lending program focusing on underserved communities by issuing new licenses to lenders in the Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) program.
  • Department of the Treasury administers $10 billion through the State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI) program, which delivers funding to states, territories, and tribal governments that encourage lending and investing in small businesses.
  • The Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program is investing about $125 million in small business incubators and accelerators.

Do You Qualify as a Small Business?

These new updates are set to open a multitude of doors for small businesses. These changes mean increased opportunities to bid on and win federal contracts, which can lead to significant growth. However, with these opportunities come challenges like navigating the new processes and meeting the compliance standards. Your business may not know what it takes to become a government contractor, or if you qualify as a small business.

To see if you are considered a small business in the eyes of the government, you need to use your primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code and enter it into the size standards tool on SBA’s site. Depending on your NAICS Code, business size will be determined by either your average annual receipts or company size.

You may also qualify for additional socio-economic small business set-asides such as:

Each of these programs has their own criteria, so I suggest you visit the links above to learn more. All of these designations, however, must be shown in your System for Award Management ( registration.

Future Outlook: The Federal Government’s Plans for Small Business Growth

Looking ahead, the federal government is committed to further encouraging small business growth within the federal market. Staying informed about these future plans and developments is important for small businesses aiming to establish or expand their presence in federal contracting.

To stay updated on future changes in the federal contracting world, check out our blog and monthly newsletter. If you have questions about getting a government contract such as the GSA Multiple Award Schedule, or want to learn more about your options in the government marketplace, we would be happy to assist you.

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About Stephanie Hagan

Stephanie Hagan is the Training and Communications Manager for Winvale. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.