Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC)
The federal government is looking for small businesses who specialize in IT products and services. Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) are an avenue into that business.
A Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is a pre-competed, multiple-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that agencies can use to buy total IT solutions, including both products and services. GSA has three GWACs designed specifically for small businesses: 8(a) STARS II, VETS, and Alliant Small Business.
Pre-compete means that the group of vendors, or “industry partners” is selected during an evaluation process, and that group remains fixed until a new contract is created, or an existing contract is extended. Unlike GSA Schedules, where vendors are accepted on a rolling basis, GWACs have firm deadlines for selecting their vendor pool.
Multiple-Award means that the procurement offers contracts to more than one vendor. This gives your customer—federal agencies—flexibility in creating solutions.
Indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), means the final piece of this contract provides for flexibility for the customer, when an agency’s demands cannot be anticipated in advance. This also makes delivery more efficient, as the task order details have been worked out in advance.
Three of the current GWACs have been specifically created to promote small business participation in the IT market. Even if all three of these contracts already have selected their vendor list or "pools," small businesses can still participate in this market by becoming subcontractors to existing vendors.
If you are interested in bidding on upcoming GWACs or learning how the current contracts are progressing, subscribe to the Interact GWAC communities VETS2 and/or Alliant 2. Sign up for the GWACs newsletter and for more information on the entire group of GWACs, visit the GWAC homepage and subscribe to GSA publications here.
If you are interested in approaching an existing GWACs vendor to offer your subcontracting services, do your homework first and research those vendors. Subcontracting allows you a window into the federal acquisition process, and should help you decide if you want to remain, or expand, into this market.
Even if you feel your business is not yet ready to participate in a GWAC, consider taking the GWACs bootcamp training available on Interact (no sign-in required). This will provide you with a basic understanding of what the federal market is seeking. You may review some of the videos here.
GWAC Bootcamp: Video Playlist