Small Business Contracting: Opportunities to Improve the Effectiveness of Agency and SBA Advocates and Mentor-Protege Programs

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses our recent work on the federal government's efforts to increase contracting opportunities for small businesses. This work covered (1) the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at federal agencies, (2) federal mentor-protege programs, and (3) the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Procurement Center Representatives (PCR) and Commercial Market Representatives (CMR). More specifically, to increase small businesses' visibility within federal agencies, in 1978 Congress amended the Small Business Act to require that all federal agencies with procurement powers establish an OSDBU, which would advocate for ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. September 15, 2011.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses our recent work on the federal government's efforts to increase contracting opportunities for small businesses. This work covered (1) the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at federal agencies, (2) federal mentor-protege programs, and (3) the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Procurement Center Representatives (PCR) and Commercial Market Representatives (CMR). More specifically, to increase small businesses' visibility within federal agencies, in 1978 Congress amended the Small Business Act to require that all federal agencies with procurement powers establish an OSDBU, which would advocate for small businesses in a variety of ways. The act further requires that OSDBU directors be responsible only to and report directly to agency heads or their deputies. The purpose of this provision is to help ensure that OSDBU directors have direct access to their agencies' top decision makers in order to advocate effectively. The functions an OSDBU may perform include administering a mentor-protege program. Under such programs, mentors--businesses, typically experienced prime contractors--provide technical, managerial, and other business development assistance to eligible small businesses, or proteges. In return, the programs provide incentives for mentor participation, such as credit toward subcontracting goals. Overall, mentor-protege programs seek to enhance the ability of small businesses to compete more successfully for federal contracts. Thirteen agencies currently have mentor-protege programs: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (Energy), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SBA, Department of State (State), Department of the Treasury (Treasury), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition to OSDBUs, SBA's PCRs and CMRs play an important role in helping ensure that small businesses gain access to contracting and subcontracting opportunities. A PCR's key responsibilities include reviewing proposed agency contract actions--such as potential bundling or consolidation--and making set-aside recommendations to agency contracting officers, reviewing agency small business programs, and counseling small businesses. A CMR's key responsibilities include counseling small businesses on obtaining subcontracts and helping match large prime contractors with small businesses. This testimony discusses three reports we issued in June 2011. Specifically, this testimony discusses our work on (1) the reporting structure at and functions performed by OSDBUs in agencies with major contracting activity, (2) the mentor-protege programs at 13 federal agencies, and (3) SBA's PCRs and CMRs."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 15, 2011

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Small Business Contracting: Opportunities to Improve the Effectiveness of Agency and SBA Advocates and Mentor-Protege Programs, text, September 15, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293707/: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.