Agencies are required to meet small business contracting goals but every year, it is only a small percentage that actually comes close. Why is this? One very simple reason is that information on qualified small businesses does not flow to the CORs who are conducting market research.
Since launching GovProcure in July 2013, I have had the privilege of discussing this issue with over 40 federal agencies. Here is a ‘typical’ scenario: Small businesses meet with or attend events sponsored by OSDBU offices, small business outreach experts or acquisitions offices. They provide information on their products and services. Sometimes they are referred to other agency contacts, but often their brochure and other information goes into a file somewhere (often hard-copy).
When a COR conducts market research, they may contact a CO or small business rep and inquire as to whether they know of any qualified small businesses. The small business rep may or may not have the information to pass along—often times they meet with so many vendors it is hard to keep track. The end result is that the information that the agency has collected on small businesses doesn’t get into the hands of the people who need it, when they need it.
This is a challenge that can be easily addressed. With an effective shared database, small business data can be entered, stored, and shared readily. When a COR is conducting market research, they can have this information at their fingertips without ever having to venture down to the contracting office. This saves everyone a lot of time and allows the COR to identify qualified small businesses, and have a much greater chance of meeting small business goals.
Reblogged from COR Insights.