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Small Business Updates for FY18

by Max Franks - October 24, 2017

Now that October 1st has come and gone, small businesses should be aware of several changes to programs they use.

First, the threshold for small purchases or (micro purchase threshold) was raised from last year’s limit of $3,500 to the new $5,000 for orders for the Department of Defense only. The FAR (federal acquisition regulations) puts the general micro-purchase threshold at $3,500. But Section 821 of the proposed 2017 NDAA will add a new section to chapter 137 of title 10 of the United States Code giving the DoD its own micro-purchase threshold of $5,000.

Secondly, the Small Business Administration Business Development Program or 8a program is updating its website and will not be available for new applications until Nov. 15.

This is the message at the current SBA webpage for the 8a program, “We are in the process of modernizing our 8(a) electronic certification system. From October 1, 2017 - November 14, 2017, new 8(a) applicants will be unable to create a profile in the GLS to access the BDMIS system. On November 15, 2017, 8(a) applicants will be directed to a new system to submit their 8(a) application. Thank you for your patience in this matter.”

If the SBA follows the current plan for the update of the 8a program webpage, it will be https://certify.sba.gov/

In the face of major disasters currently affecting the country, FEMA has been given the authority to raise the simplified acquisition threshold from $150,000 for small businesses, to $750,000. The Harvey memo cited sections of the Federal Acquisition Regulation allowing GSA to raise the micro purchase threshold to $20,000 for any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made in support of the designated disaster areas.

“The simplified acquisition threshold is increased to $750,000, or $13,000,000 for commercial items,” the memo to GSA contracting professionals said. The authority extends to any necessary leasing of property.

In Arkansas, the current legislature, passed bills supporting Woman Owned Small Businesses to be part of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and gave the state agencies new goals. Before 2017, Arkansas only recognized minority owned small businesses and some service disabled veteran owned small business under the DBE program.

While the 2018 contracting year is off and running, small businesses should review their currentsocial and economic status and use all of the small business programs on the state and federal levels. If you have questions on any of the small business certifications (8a, Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) or the Service Disable Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), call the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center and let us explain the procedures and requirements for these programs

Small Businesses should consider the amount of federal purchases in 2017, made by the federal government in Arkansas last year:  $748,197,346. Of this total only 54% went to Arkansas based contractors. Small businesses should be aware of the opportunities that are available to them, and consider federal procurement as part of a business model in an updated business plan. Let’s make 2018 a profitable contracting year by using company resources as well as free resources from the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center.

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