SBA simplifies small-business registration, launches database to verify info

Beginning Jan. 1, small businesses will no longer need to register in both the Small Business Administration's Pro-Net, a database of small businesses, and the Central Contractor Registration, the government's database of all contractors.

Instead, all contractors will register only in CCR, which is managed by the Defense Department. CCR will assume all of Pro-Net's search capabilities and functions, and the Pro-Net name will be retired, according to SBA officials.

The data in Pro-Net and CCR were integrated more than a year ago, but Pro-Net and CCR had separate search engines. Now there will be one portal for entering and searching for federal contractors, including small business sources, said Linda Williams, associate administrator in the SBA's Office of Government Contracting.

To conduct market research and confirm eligibility for SBA's procurement preference programs, such as 8(a) and HUBZone, users will go to www.ccr.gov and click on the "Dynamic Small Business Search" button.

In another change, contractors can no longer declare themselves a small business. Rather, they will enter into CCR their information such as revenue, number of employees and their North American Industry Classification System codes, which describe what they sell. The SBA will then access that information through the new Small Business Source System, which will perform the calculations to determine whether the business is small. The size determination will then be recorded in the CCR, said Arthur Collins, deputy associate administrator of the HUBZone program.

"We are hoping that with this electronic routine we will get better information," Williams said. "We can make sure we will screen these self-certified companies before they get on the database as small. That is a great enhancement to the database."

The CCR database improvements are part of the Business Partner Network, an initiative designed to simplify governmentwide contractor registration. The network is part of the Integrated Acquisition Environment, an e-government project designed to streamline federal acquisition by creating common business processes for buyers and sellers in the federal marketplace.

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