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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Do we really need all these separate small business programs?

Here's a thought: Let's consolidate them into one program. To qualify for the program, you can be in a HUBZone, veteran-owned, minority-owned, women-owned, Alaska Native, etc.

Let Congress and the agencies identify the socio-economic groups and areas that would benefit most from a small-business set-aside program. Agencies would have a goal for the amount of set-aside work that should go to companies in this program, but you don't set goals for individual types of companies. The companies would compete on their merits.

A second part of my thought is that all the participants in the program would face a graduation date, much like the 8(a) program does. After 9 years or some other significant period of time, you can't receive set-aside contracts. By that point, you should be established enough as a business to compete independently. If you can't survive without the set-aside, well, you deserve to go out of business.

This would greatly simplify small-business contracting. All small businesses would be on the same playing field. Instead of agencies having to look for business to meet a certain criteria, they can just look for the most qualified small business.

Hopefully, a streamlined process would free resources that could be used to provide better contract management and fight fraud and abuse.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 08, 2008 at 7:22 PM


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