This program, designed to help SDBs in the 8(a) Business Development Program gain better access to federal contracts, is set to advance President Biden’s goal to increase contracts to these businesses. As a result, a new pool of 8(a) firms will be established, simplifying the process for procurement officials to locate and contract with small, disadvantaged businesses across industries.
The newly minted 8(a) MAS Pool will see participants receiving a designation, signifying their eligibility for 8(a) sole source awards and competitive set-asides. This move aims to leverage the size and scale of the MAS marketplace to help federal agencies reach their SDB contracting goals while making intelligent purchasing decisions.
This initiative aligns with the Biden administration’s commitment to equity in procurement. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said, “This joint initiative between the SBA and GSA will increase federal contracting opportunities for thousands of minority-owned and other small, disadvantaged businesses… We look forward to continuing to work with GSA and our federal agency partners to implement the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative.”
This move comes as part of a wider push to enhance equity, as part of Executive Order (EO) 13985 – Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The new 8(a) MAS Pool will continue to work towards increasing access to federal contracting for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, creating more opportunities for minority-owned small businesses 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 included in the pool, with the roll-out expected to start later this year. This streamlining of the acquisition process should incentivize agencies to contract with 8(a) firms, providing government buyers with a wider range of contractors to help meet their small and socioeconomic business contracting goals.
The 8(a) Business Development Program, which certifies small businesses as socially and economically disadvantaged, provides significant opportunities for participants to develop and grow their businesses, generate wealth, and create jobs in historically underserved communities. This is done through a variety of powerful contracting tools and regular business development training with SBA’s district teams.
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