GALVESTON, Texas (May 5, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District joins the Small Business Administration in honoring America’s entrepreneurs May 4-8, 2015, in recognition of National Small Business Week.
“Small businesses remain vital to the economic growth of the Texas Gulf Coast Region and create nearly two out of three jobs in our nation’s economy,” said Ken Adams, USACE Galveston District director for Small Business. “We understand the significant impact these entrepreneurs have particularly on our local economy and encourage small businesses to expand their customer base and consider the federal government as a source of business.”
Adams says this week highlights the critical role entrepreneurs hold in our society while also providing small business with information about the services the Small Business Administration and its partners offer. Additionally, this event encourages consumers and government agencies to give local businesses an opportunity to provide services, but notes there is leg work that needs to be done up front before a small business can be awarded a federal contract.
“You’ll need to register your business with the federal government through the SBA’s database called the Central Contractors Registration (located at www.ccr.gov),” said Adams. “It’s imperative that small businesses register with the CCR because federal agencies cannot award any contract to a business unless it is registered in this database and has been issued a Data Universal Numbering System (that assigns a unique numeric identifier to a single business entity). Additionally, all small businesses must be SBA certified before they are recognized by any federal agencies.”
According to Adams, many factors are considered when determining if a business qualifies as a small business, however for federal purposes, a small business is determined by either the average number of employees over the past 12 months or if the average annual revenue over the past three years is less than the North American Industry Classification System designated amount for a small business. More specifically, the small business categories that the USACE Galveston District recognizes are determined by federal guidelines and include: Small Business; Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SBA’s 8 (a) program); Women-Owned Small Businesses; Hubzone Small Businesses; Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Historically Black College Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI).
“We advise small businesses to visit the federal agencies’ websites it wishes to conduct business with to determine if their products and services are used or if its technology would help the agency to become more efficient in cost and/or productivity,” said Adams. “The Galveston District continues to perform market research to identify small businesses to support our mission, which spans along the entire Texas coast, and continues to seek opportunities to award contracts to these businesses.”
SOL Engineering Services LLC, an 8(a) and HubZone Certified small business, was awarded several Galveston District contracts and says the process isn’t as difficult to navigate as one might assume.
“We started the process by visiting the district to market our services to the Small Business Office and representative project team members,” said Derek Starling Sr., P.E., co-owner of SOL Engineering Services LLC. “We were provided information about which services the district was procuring and the procurement forecast for the upcoming year. Based on this information, we were able to provide SOL’ s capabilities briefing and references to demonstrate our proven track record of providing services to other USACE districts.”
Starling explained that since SOL’s first contract award in 2011, they have successfully executed 25 task orders and continues to provide a much needed service to the district as a small disadvantaged business.
The Galveston District participates in a Set-Aside Program (for all the small business categories above except HBCU/MI) that allows the district to classify contracts as “only open for competition purposes” to small businesses. Additionally, the district may also award contracts on a sole source basis to any 8(a) small business (other than architectural and engineering contracts) amounts less than $4 million.
“The Set-Aside Program helps to ensure that small businesses are awarded a fair proportion of government contracts by setting aside select government purchases exclusively for participation by small businesses,” said Adams. “In fiscal year 2014, we awarded $31,797,541 in contracts to small businesses and $14,218,285 so far in FY15 out of approximately $50 million in available funding.”
According to the Texas Economic Development Division, more than 2.2 million small businesses call Texas home - and that number includes more than 725,000 women- and minority-owned small business.
“With such a vast pool of small business services to draw from, we really hope to see an increase in owners participating in SBA programs that support small business growth,” said Adams.
Learn more about the USACE Galveston District’s Small Business Program at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/SmallBusinessOffice.aspx or visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.
Release no. 15-023