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  1. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. In fact, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. The contributions of small businesses are so great that federal legislation has been enacted to ensure that small businesses have fair and equitable access to federal spending. This legislation includes the requirement that federal agencies meet goals for small business and establishes several socioeconomic categories by which they can do so. The SBA negotiates with agencies to establish individual agency goals that, in the aggregate, constitute government-wide goals. There are 24 agencies that are subject to meeting socioeconomic goals, and the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC), through our Best in Class Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), is uniquely poised to assist each of these agencies in meeting their goals and fulfilling their information technology-related missions. Goals Met with CIO-SP3 Small Businesses The NITAAC CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC features a wide variety of leading small business innovators and can be used by any federal, civilian or DoD agency to fulfill information technology requirements and meet socioeconomic goals. CIO-SP3 Small Business boasts pre-vetted contract holders in key socioeconomic categories, such as: 8(a): The SBA 8(a) Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain entry in government contracting. This certification is intended for organizations that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC features 133 8(a) designated Contract Holders. Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone): The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in HUBZones. It also gives preferential consideration to those businesses in full and open competition. The CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC features 22 HUBZone small businesses located in underutilized urban and rural communities. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB): The SDVOSB designation is given to small businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans. The CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC features 53 SDVOSB Contract Holders. Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB): To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program. In fact, the federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. The CIO-SP3 Small Business GWAC features 21 dynamic Women-Owned Small Businesses. NITAAC Has You Covered No matter your socioeconomic goal, CIO-SP3 Small Business can help you meet it. To learn more about CIO-SP3 Small Business, visit https://nitaac.nih.gov/services/cio-sp3-small-business.
  2. Fed Reg Vol 81 No 104, May 31, 2016 finally implemented the “Similarly Situated Entity“ rule of the 2013 NDAA. Specific updates to 13CFR125 change the overall tenor of the Limitations on Subcontracting to a true limit on the amount that can be subcontracted rather than a prime performance requirement. Based on much of the reasoning included in that Fed Reg, the intent was to bring parity to the various programs, including the Limitations on Subcontracting. The Reg however did not change 48 CFR 52.219 and the various FAR clauses -3, -14, -27, -29, and -30 that implement the limitations on subcontracting requirements. Vern will be disappointed to see that in the 13CFR125 revision they REMOVED the definition of “Cost of contract performance incurred for personnel”, yet that term is still used in the aforementioned FAR clauses. Of particular concern, the new 13CFR125.6(a)(3) requirement identifies the limitations on subcontracting for general construction as “not pay more than 85% of the amount paid by the government to it to firms that are not similarly situated”. Similarly (a)(4) requires not more than 75% for special trade contractors. Yet the current FAR 52.219-3 (Notice of HUBZone set-aside) requires that for both types, 50% of “the cost of personnel for contract performance be spent for employees of the concern or employees of other HUBZone small business concerns” (e.g. similarly situated entities) AND requires at least 15% (general) or 25% (trade) performance by employees of the prime. So there is an inherent contradiction between the two. The 50% requirement is very difficult for HUBZone construction and trade contractors and I personally know of at least two former HUBZone contractors that have given up maintaining their HUBZone certification on that basis. It was thought that the new revised rule would bring the requirement back to 15% (general) or (25%) trade consistent with the other programs. So, 1) is there any reason why one would have precedence over the other (13CFR125 vs 48CFR52) as they are contradictory, and 2) is anyone aware of any pending changes to the FAR clauses to reconcile the discrepancies (not just this one) and bring it in-line with the new regulation?
  3. Question for any experts out there in the SEWP Contract arena. If a small business acquires a company that IS a Prime Contractor on the SEWP Contract Full and Open category can the small business be grandfathered into the appropriate SEWP Small Business Category? In this example the company acquiring the SEWP Full and Open Prime company is a SDVO/Hubzone certified company. Can they be added to the Hubzone Group? Or do they remain Full and Open category regardless of surviving Business socioeconomic status?
  4. Does FAR 19.1307 (HUBZone price evaluation preference) apply to task orders / delivery orders competed under a GSA Federal Supply Schedule? It appears not, since the list of contract clauses for an FSS contract omit FAR clause 52.219-4. So if this is the case, my follow-on question is that while it is clear why the price preference doesn't apply to the award of the FSS contract itself, what is the reason that FSSes are exempt from having to apply 19.1307 for task/delivery order competed under them?
  5. (Another) Limitation on Subcontracting Issue Again, a FFP HUBZone construction contract in NW Fla. Based on the latest FAR clause, the HUBZone must self-perform (or subcontract to other HUBZone entities) 50% of the work…even for construction. We bid with a plan to achieve this goal. Now the contract has a change order pending that will drastically reduce the scope of work that we (the prime) were going to self-perform and increases the scope of work to be performed by a key Subcontractor. Incorporating the change, it will be nearly impossible to satisfy the referenced FAR requirement for self-performance. Given this change, the only options I see are: A ) Try to negotiate out the implicating FAR clause associated with the change (I’m not sure the CO thinks they have the authority to do that), or B ) Bid additional people (cost) to sit on their butts and watch the work being done, until we achieve the goal. Any other ideas?
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