Steps Taken to Broaden Small Business Participation at DHS

GAO: DHS steps help small business gain more contracting opportunities, but more data needed

Source: FierceHomelandSecurity, Article written by Dibya Sarkar, published June 29, 2015

The Homeland Security Department has taken several key steps to broaden small business participation in bidding for information technology contracts, but it’s still too early to tell whether they will make a significant impact, congressional investigators said in a new audit.

The Government Accountability Office reviewed the department’s Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions, or EAGLE, II program. The so-called strategic sourcing contract is designed to help DHS agencies leverage buying power – versus individual procurements – so they can acquire IT products and services more efficiently and save money. Use of EAGLE II is required in most cases.

The DHS has set aside business, namely software design and development, IT support services and verification, for both large and small businesses, including those owned by socially or disadvantaged persons, veterans and/or those located in urban and rural communities. For fiscal 2015, the department’s small business goal is 32 percent of its prime contracts be awarded to such companies with no less than 5 percent to small disadvantaged businesses, according to the report (pdf) published June 24.

Departmental officials established three steps to improve the ability of small businesses to compete for contracts within EAGLE II. The first step was creating specific competition tracks for those designated as an 8(a) Business Development Program, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and Historically Underutilized Business Zone.

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