GSBA Interim President & CEO Ilona Lohrey recently met with the Administrator Robin Carnahan of the federal General Services Administration
(GSA) to discuss government contracting and small business opportunities. This comes on the heels of the GSA entering into a partnership with NGLCC
to advance equity and supplier diversity in federal contracting, namely enhancing access to GSA contracting opportunities for LGBTQ+ owned small businesses. The GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing over $75 billion in annual contracts.
GSBA shared concerns that many small businesses find multiple barriers to accessing government contracts, requested data, and documentation. Additionally, there are many challenges around firm fixed-price contracts with the possibility to adjust for inflation. These barriers affect the ability of business owners to pay higher wages and retain good employees. Additionally, larger companies are often the main or Tier 1 contractor, and small minority owned firms only get access to tiers 2 or 3, or at the subcontractor level.
Administrator Carnahan shared that the infrastructure act passed earlier this year means that the federal government has a lot of funds available for projects that will especially benefit those in construction-related industries. This presents a unique moment for small businesses to grow in the construction industry, and the General Services Administration wants to invest! With the Inflation Reduction Act, there are also new efforts to ensure sustainability for small businesses coming into effect.
Joining GSBA at the event were partner organizations such as Business Impact NW, the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center.