Biden-Harris Administration to Launch New Initiative to Increase Federal Contracting with Small Disadvantaged Businesses
8(a) MAS Pool Initiative Will Help More 8(a)-certified Firms Gain Access to Federal Contracting Opportunities
WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Administrator Robin Carnahan, head of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), announced a joint effort, known as the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative, to help small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) participating in the 8(a) Business Development Program gain access to more federal contracts in GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program and advance President Biden’s goal to increase contracts to SDBs. This agreement will establish a pool of 8(a) firms to make it easier for procurement officials to locate and contract with small, disadvantaged businesses across industries.
Once participants are accepted into the newly established 8(a) MAS Pool, they will receive a designation that indicates to agency buyers that a business is eligible for 8(a) sole source awards and competitive set-asides. Federal agencies will be able to leverage the size and scale of the MAS marketplace to achieve their SDB contracting goals while they make smart purchasing decisions.
“This joint initiative between the SBA and GSA will increase federal contracting opportunities for thousands of minority-owned and other small, disadvantaged businesses, highlighting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity in procurement and delivering against President Biden’s ambitious goal,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “Our 8(a) small businesses are agile, innovative, and positioned for growth, and can further help federal agencies procure the products and services needed to achieve their missions. We look forward to continuing to work with GSA and our federal agency partners to implement the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative and help ensure this valuable small business talent doesn’t sit on the sidelines.”
“We know that America’s diverse small business communities provide tremendous value to our government and to taxpayers,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “We’re excited about this new pool that will make it easier for federal acquisition professionals to find them, buy from them, help them create jobs, and advance agency missions across government.”
This agreement is a collaboration between the SBA and GSA to implement improvements in federal contracting guided by Executive Order (EO) 13985 – Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Following through on President Biden’s Day One commitment to advancing equity, the new 8(a) MAS Pool in the GSA Multiple Award Schedule will continue to build on this Administration’s historic efforts to provide greater access to federal contracting for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, creating new avenues for more minority-owned small businesses to compete in the federal marketplace.
Customer agencies will be able to place 8(a) directed awards once the MAS Solicitation is refreshed and the MAS 8(a) companies are in the pool, beginning later this year. This initiative will result in increased ordering flexibility under the GSA Schedule program and streamline the acquisition process, further incentivizing agencies to contract with 8(a) firms. It will also provide government buyers with greater access to a large number of 8(a) contractors that will help agencies meet their small and socioeconomic business contracting goals.
“I am very excited about what this joint initiative with the GSA will mean for small businesses and the contracting opportunities it will provide to the smallest of the small,” said Larry Stubblefield, Acting Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development (GCBD). “Under the leadership of President Biden and Administrator Guzman, our goal is to try to reach the largest number of small businesses especially those in underserved communities, so they too can reap the rewards of federal contracting opportunities."
“The new 8(a) pool represents SBA’s long-term commitment to support the development of 8(a) firms and provide federal agencies a way to deliver mission-critical services working with our Nation’s small, disadvantaged businesses. SBA is pleased about this new opportunity to maximize utilization of our 8(a) Program Participants,” said Dr. Donna Peebles, SBA’s Associate Administrator of 8(a) Business Development.
“We’re pleased to be taking this smart step in partnership with SBA to help ensure that the world’s largest buyer – the U.S. government – has better access to the valuable products offered by small, disadvantaged businesses,” said Exodie Roe III, Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization. “By streamlining the acquisition process, we hope to make it easier than ever for agencies to do more business with 8(a) firms.”
The SBA certifies small businesses considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program. The 8(a) BD Program provides significant opportunities for participants to develop and grow their businesses, generate wealth, and create jobs in historically underserved communities through powerful contracting tools, such as sole source contract award opportunities. The program also involves regular business development training with SBA’s district teams, providing one-on-one counseling, business workshops, and management and technical guidance programs.
GSA’s MAS program consists of long-term, government-wide contracts that provide government buyers access to products, services, and solutions at pre-negotiated prices. MAS is organized into 12 major categories and further subdivided into Special Item Numbers (SINs) that represent the products and services sold and bought on the schedule.
About SBA: The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. For more information, visit GSA.gov and follow us at @USGSA.