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Published August 18, 2017
A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Brett Housholder, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program manager
“I heard the federal government has to award certain contracts to small businesses as well as businesses owned by women, veterans and socially disadvantaged individuals. How does this work?” Sandy, Casper
The federal government has certain goals it has to meet each year, and it’s a big advantage for Wyoming-based companies because the vast majority of businesses in the state qualify as “small” businesses. Plus, many qualify as part of other groups that also receive preference for certain types of contracts.
These contracts are called “set asides,” and your business will either have to go through a self-certification process or an official certification process that is reviewed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make sure the business qualifies.
There is a big advantage to set aside contracts because it means the pool of competition is limited to only small businesses, only woman-owned businesses, etc. Also, in Wyoming, several of these set aside groups do not have many businesses in them so it limits the competition even further.
There are five basic types of businesses that qualify for set asides: small businesses, businesses owned by women, service-disabled veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and businesses located in HUBZones.
-- Small-business: This one’s simple enough. If the business is considered “small” by the SBA’s Size Standard for the type of work it does, it qualifies for all small-business set asides. The federal government has a goal of awarding 23 percent of all contract dollars to this group.
-- Woman-owned: a small business at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a woman or group of women. This group also includes a subcategory for economically disadvantaged woman-owned small businesses. The goal for this group is 5 percent of all contract dollars.
-- Small disadvantaged: a small business at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or a group of socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The goal for this group is 5 percent of all contract dollars.
-- Service-disabled veteran-owned: a small business at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran or a group of service-disabled veterans. The goal for this group is 3 percent of all contract dollars.
-- HUBZone: This one is a little different. The requirement here is that the small business is located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone and that 35 percent of the company’s employees reside in that area as well. The goal for this group is 3 percent of all contract dollars.
There are many more details about each group and its certification process. Contact the Wyoming SBDC Network PTAC to learn more.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at www.wyomingsbdc.org/blog1/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.