The General Services Administration wants to make it easier for vendors of all sizes to work with government.
GSA issued a request for information late Wednesday soliciting feedback from contractors on how the federal government can make it easier for smaller businesses to earn a spot on one of its schedules for governmentwide selling.
The agency is kicking off the effort with IT Schedule 70, the most popular contract vehicle in government, exploring any barriers that might prevent small vendors from listing their IT products and services on the contract. The RFI focuses specifically on the contract’s two-year corporate experience requirement and other project experience and financial qualifications that deter new tech startups from offering the federal government their services.
GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth wrote in a blog post that it’s part of her larger vision to make sure valuable small businesses aren’t prevented from doing business with government.
Schedule 70 is “a vehicle that can provide access to federal, state, and local government contracting work to new industry partners, and we want to work with companies to understand how they can more successfully access this space, even if they are new to or unfamiliar with government practices,” Turner wroth wrote. “And this is just the start: as part of my vision of GSA as an economic catalyst, we will be looking for other ways to ease the path to government business, especially for small businesses. Our agency will look for ways to reduce burdens, improve policies, automate steps, and streamline processes.”
In the RFI, GSA depending on the result of this effort, it may expand it beyond Schedule 70.
Tech companies have criticized GSA in the past for these kinds of barriers. When 18F opened its agile blanket purchase agreement contract to vendors earlier this summer, its purpose was to entice newer agile vendors to work with government. However, the BPA required applicants to be on Schedule 70, and many agile firms didn’t have the experience required, leaving them out of the competition.
“We are interested in understanding from industry — particularly small businesses — how our practices can be improved,” Turner Roth wrote. “By making it easier for suppliers to work with us, we will offer government as a whole better access to innovative companies, enhanced technology solutions, and a wider range of contracting options.”
Responses are due by Sept. 18.