By Terry Stroud, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at Fayetteville State University
In an April 6, 2016 GSA Blog posting, GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth announced the launching of a series of new GSA programs collectively called the “Making It Easier” initiative. In the posting, she advised:
“Today I am launching a series of new GSA programs collectively called the “Making It Easier” initiative – and I’m pleased to tell you that this is a great example of a name that exactly fits a program. Making It Easier, or MIE, does just what it says — makes it easier for new and innovative companies to do business with the government. And it also provides small businesses with tools and support they need to do work with the government. It even includes an IT Schedule 70 Plain Language Roadmap that does a wonderful job of explaining the Schedule 70 offer process for new vendors in clear and simple terms. Once new companies are awarded a Schedule contract, the standardized Welcome Package will put an end to new vendors receiving inconsistent and outdated guidance.”
Responding to feedback from the vendor community indicating that getting a Schedule contract is too hard and takes too long, two components of MIE addresses those issues. The two components are called the FASt Lane and the IT Schedule 70 Springboard. According to the GSA website information listed for these components:
“The FASt Lane program ensures our government customer agencies have quicker access to emerging technologies and innovative suppliers. With FASt Lane, suppliers get shorter processing times for IT Schedule 70 contract actions that directly support federal customer agency requirements:
- Less than 48 hours for contract modifications; and
- As quickly as 45 days for new offers.
Based on solicitation requirements, the assigned GSA contracting officer will review new offers or contract modifications and provide any necessary feedback. To ensure a speedy process, applying suppliers must be prepared to respond quickly to any inquiries from GSA contracting officers.”
“The IT Schedule 70 Springboard initiative focuses on innovative IT companies with fewer than two years of experience. Our goal is to get the latest innovative technologies into the hands of federal agencies faster by getting emerging technology companies onto IT Schedule 70, the government’s largest IT contract vehicle.
This initiative now allows these innovative companies to:
- Use the professional experience of their executives and key personnel as a substitute for having two years of corporate experience;
- Use the project experience of key personnel as a substitute for having relevant corporate past performance; and
- Provide financial documentation that demonstrates the company’s financial responsibility in lieu of submitting two years of financial statements.
This initiative will make it easier for these companies to get access to over $15 Billion in annual federal, state, and local IT opportunities. In addition, it will establish a pathway for all highly qualified IT companies to join IT Schedule 70 and give more small businesses access to these opportunities.”
The MIE initiative represents significant change that should go a long way toward addressing the concerns voiced by Vendors to GSA. The provision for allowing companies with less than a two year financial track record to participate, opens the door for many new suppliers, and is a huge opportunity for startup IT companies. If you fall into this category offering services covered by IT Schedule 70, now is the time to contact your local NC PTAC for assistance in applying for an IT Schedule 70 contract. For a qualified startup company, the recent GSA changes could very well provide your company with a new source of revenue. The reduction in the time and effort required makes GSA a viable option for many new small businesses.