Lots of important changes going on for contractors from the Small Business Administration courtesy of Deputy Administrator Marie Johns at this morning’s ACT Small Business Conference at the JW Marriott.
- The contracting set-aside rules for women-owned business were recently finalized and will be implemented by the fourth quarter for this federal fiscal year just in time for the big end of fiscal year contracting rush. Women-owned businesses need to self-certify with the SBA to take advantage and can upload all the necessary company information on ww.sba.gov.
- The SBA is making a stronger effort to update NAICS codes which help identify the size of a business relative to its sector. Johns said the plan is to revisit the codes on a rolling five-year schedule, so there will be constant updates with the next wave coming in a few months.
- Under the Small business Jobs Act there are 60 provisions to help small businesses with 19 aimed directly at federal contractors. One in particular is cracking down on fraud, waste and abuse, namely when companies misrepresent themselves to win set-asides. In the past, Johns said it was pretty much ignored, but now the agency will be swinging a bigger hammer at offenders (of interest, paying back the contract award without reimbursement for work already completed).
- And finally, the 8(a) program is getting a massive facelift. One of the provisions is an increase in allowances under the mentor-protégé program to help small firms graduate from the set-aside programs in better fiscal shape and to find teaming partners more easily.