GWAC Program Expanding Opportunities for Small Businesses

Posted by Mary Davie
on January 28, 2016

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY15. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/.

Small Business GWACs: Year in Review

I’m proud to say that FY15 was a banner year for our Small Business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts Center. The Center, which supports agency efforts to meet socioeconomic goals through IT services acquisitions, received 755 task orders in FY15. These acquisitions, and exercised options, represent a total government spend of $2.6B in obligations. Projects on these acquisitions represent a wide range of IT services, from technology consulting to cloud computing.

As the Center moves forward into FY16 with a number of new contract opportunities, its focus remains steadfast on helping small businesses succeed in the federal marketplace. Let’s take a brief look at the current contracts and what’s on the horizon.

Current Contracts

The Small Business GWAC Center currently operates three contracts with specialized socioeconomic designations. Each contract is designed to provide a streamlined method for agencies to utilize highly qualified small businesses to meet their IT needs, while achieving U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and agency socioeconomic contracting goals. Additional information on SBA goals may be found on the SBA website.

The 8(a) STARS II GWAC is a set aside contract for 8(a) technology firms (as designated by SBA). This contract is available for use through 2024, and includes nearly 600 skilled 8(a) IT service providers. In FY2015, more than $1.6 billion was obligated against more than 650 new task orders on the 8(a) STARS II GWAC. This represents the most successful year for 8(a) STARS II. More information on the 8(a) STARS II GWAC, including its directed order authority, can be found at 8(a) STARS II site.

The Alliant Small Business GWAC focuses on providing government contract opportunities to a wide range of highly qualified small businesses. This small business contract provides flexible access to customized IT solutions from a diverse pool of nearly 50 industry partners. With availability through 2024, Alliant Small Business allows for long-term planning of large-scale program requirements, while strengthening opportunities for small businesses. During FY15, Alliant Small Business received 90 task orders and over $1.2 billion in obligations. This is an increase of 8% in obligations from FY14. Details on how the Alliant SB contract can help your agency meet its goals are available at the Alliant SB website.

The VETS GWAC is a contract designed to strengthen federal contract opportunities for our nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Agencies receive SDVOSB credit when issuing tasks on the contract, which is available through 2020. The VETS GWAC continues to be a successful program, with nearly $139 million obligated on the contract in FY2015. The GSA VETS website has a wealth of information on how this contract assists in developing opportunities for SDVOSB firms.

Our small business industry partners, across all three SB GWACs have been very successful. On 8(a) STARS II, 378 out of 562 small disadvantage businesses (67.3%) have at least one award.  On Alliant SB, 63 out of 68 primes (92.6%) have one or more awards. On VETS, 100% of the current SDVOSB contract holders have an award.

Next Generation Contracts

In addition to a focus on current contracts, the SB GWAC Center is currently working on three new acquisitions:

  • 8(a) STARS II (set-aside for 8(a) firms) is currently conducting evaluations on an open season held in mid-FY15. This open season will provide opportunity to additional 8(a) firms to join the contract, increasing the pool of quality vetted 8(a) firms to meet federal agency requirements.
  • VETS 2 (set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses) issued a draft RFP in 2015. This follow on contract will build upon the success of the original VETS contract, and include the capability to issue cost-type task orders. A final solicitation for VETS 2 is anticipated in FY16. For those interested in more information on the VETS 2 procurement, visit our VETS 2 Interact community.
  • Alliant 2 Small Business (set aside for small businesses) held industry one-on-one sessions in FY16 for to develop the draft RFP. This next generation contract solicitation is anticipated to be issued in the spring of 2016. GSA invites interested government and industry partners to join our Alliant 2/Alliant 2 SB Interact community.

We are thrilled with agency interest in and use of the SB GWAC programs and are predicting a very successful FY16 as well. For more information on the SB GWAC program and how it brings small businesses and federal agencies together, please visit the SB GWAC website.

And, as always, please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

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Celebrating Veterans Success through ITS Contracting Opportunities

Posted by Mary Davie
on November 11, 2015

As we celebrate the Veterans Day holiday, I’m humbled by the many veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have helped build America’s foundation and continue to serve our nation and federal community as veteran entrepreneurs and business owners.

One out  every 10 American businesses today is owned by a veteran, and 5.8 million Americans owe their job to a veteran. I’m also honored to be a part of GSA’s ongoing commitment to our veterans through the strong contracting and business opportunities our agency provides.

For centuries, veterans have served our great nation in a variety of ways, and today’s IT realm is no exception. Every day, ITS programs such as Schedule 70 and the Small Business GWAC Division work with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and government agencies, in need of customized products and services, to provide quality IT solutions. These contract vehicles also help agencies achieve their socioeconomic SDVOSB goals.

Below are some terrific examples of how the service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses of the Veterans Technology Services (VETS) GWAC are supporting federal agencies.

Providing comprehensive life-cycle support to the NEXRAD Network

Using VETS, the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Air Force awarded the 10-year MSITS task order to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. The small business will support ongoing base operations and maintenance for our nation’s Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) infrastructure, which is a network of 167 weather-radar sites that (1) provides the foundation for all national weather forecasting and (2) collects data for extreme-weather notification and safety systems, military operations, and emergency-management systems.

Creating and securing a wireless network across the VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needed a location-based wireless infrastructure that delivers secure wireless communication across 300 VA sites around the nation. Through the VETS GWAC, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business installed and verified the network, achieving a solution for a broad range of the VA’s data and telecommunications needs.

Marching Onward

To build upon the success of VETS, our Small Business GWAC Division is designing the next-generation VETS GWAC to align with the evolving federal IT marketplace.

Through collaboration with our government customers and the SDVOSB community, VETS 2 will provide your agency the opportunity to work with world-class SDVOSB firms to fulfill your IT service requirements.

Please stay tuned for a series of VETS success stories that we plan to host on our new ITS LinkedIn showcase page.

We also encourage your agency to consider using a small business owned by a service-disabled veteran, whenever you need customized IT solutions. If you have questions about the VETS contract, please contact us at (855) 482-4348 or at www.gsa.gov/vets.

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Small Business Set-Asides – a Good Thing and the Right Thing to Do

Posted by Ed O’Hare
on April 19, 2010

Small businesses drive the U.S. economy – we hear this almost every day on the news. According to a recent Washington Post article, “Firms with fewer than 500 employees employ just over half of the country’s workers and create nearly two-thirds of the country’s new jobs.”  It’s pretty clear: small businesses—veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, disadvantaged, women-owned and minority-owned businesses—are key drivers of innovation and job creation. They will be critical to pulling our nation out of the current economic crisis.

So what can we, government agencies, do to support the continuing recovery of the American economy?

One tool we have on hand is the small business set-aside. More than ever before, government agencies need to take a hard look at their procurement procedures and their progress towards meeting their small business goals. As part of our standard procurement process for all contracts, we consistently ask ourselves “could a small business fulfill these requirements?” I am proud to say that GSA met its small business goals last year.

If you’re an agency looking for a way to energize your small business procurement, GSA offers you a number of governmentwide IT acquisition contracts tailored to your varying needs, including VETS, 8(a) STARS, and Alliant Small Business. They offer time- and cost-savings, flexibility, worldwide geographic coverage, highly qualified industry partners and, of course, the procurement preference credit you need. We even have a Small Business GWAC Center that will help you walk through the process of choosing the right solution.

In addition, the majority of vendors in our IT Schedule 70 program are small businesses, which provides ample opportunity for agencies to fulfill their IT needs and meet their small business goals.

I know there also are a lot of small businesses out there who have questions about how to provide their innovative technology solutions through our GWACs and schedules. I invite you to come talk to us.

As we head further into our fiscal year, we have a chance to give our economy a boost. Choosing to contract with small businesses is a good thing and it’s the right thing to do.

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