The General Services Administration made awards to 426 small businesses in an effort to provide agencies with more emerging technology options, completing the first phase of its $50 billion 8(a) STARS III contract Thursday.
No task orders can be made until GSA issues the notice to proceed, expected in July, when agencies can begin taking advantage of the fourth-generation governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC).
GWACs are best-in-class, easy-to-use contracts that allow agencies to procure IT from prime contractors. The 8(a) STARS III contract is expected to focus on emerging technologies and technologies outside of the continental United States.
“GSA is rolling out this new contract vehicle in cohorts, balancing the need to provide innovative products and services that agencies require quickly with the intent to onboard the broadest number of small businesses over time,” said Sonny Hashmi, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service within GSA. “Through this strategy GSA can start to create an immediate positive impact to our partner agencies’ missions, while increasing opportunities for our small business partners.”
Phase 1 awards come almost a year after GSA issued its request for proposals, and the agency will hold discussions with the remaining offerers later this summer before making a second phase of awards.
The Small Business Administration partnered with GSA to support the small, disadvantaged businesses that received awards in keeping with President Biden’s January executive order to improve racial equity.
“The 8(a) STARS GWAC program represents an inclusive opportunity for small, disadvantaged firms to compete within the federal marketplace and gain valuable experience in navigating agency requirements,” said Exodie C. Roe III, associate administrator of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization within GSA. “More than $18 billion have been awarded through GSA’s 8(a) GWACs, and many successful firms have graduated from the SBA’s 8(a) Program to compete on a larger scale.”