Editor’s note: With the 2015 federal fiscal year winding down to its end on Sept. 30, GPN reached out to Tom Johnson to learn ways that federal buyers can locate prospective small business contractors. Johnson is president of Business Research Services of Bethesda Md., and publisher of Set-Aside Alert, the news and information service for small business federal contractors. Johnson’s views are below. You can contact Johnson at tjohnson@setasidealert.com

Year-end is a busy time in itself, much less having to ensure meeting the agency’s small business goals. Where do you find responsible small businesses capable of doing the work? Here are a few resources to help you on the way to success.

SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search website can help. There are more than 200,000 companies enrolled on the site, and they are searchable by a variety of factors. You can search out companies by industry, geographic location, socioeconomic category or keyword. Your results will include contact information, email addresses, years in business, DUNS numbers and other data to focus on your criteria. Records in the website are updated on a rolling basis annually so you can be confident of getting live companies.

Set-Aside Alert produces the 8(a) Sources website. The 8(a) Sources site lists locations of about 7,000 companies and joint ventures certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration as socially and economically disadvantaged companies.

The 8(a) program is a business development program. Companies that enter the program through SBA’s certification process are counseled and supported over a nine-year period to gain expertise and experience and develop the business processes essential to managing growth in both the federal procurement arena and the commercial marketplace.

Searches on the site can be conducted by company name, state or industry. Each index arrays companies by state and city to help focus your search.

The U. S. General Services Administration’s multiple award schedules program lists about 18,000 companies, small and large, that have been awarded schedule contracts. GSA’s contracting staffers have rigorously vetted these companies prior to award. Go to the schedules website and select the group that fits your need. Then select a specific schedule source and a narrower category (also known as a Special Item Number). The resulting list of contractors identifies whether they are small, 8(a), HUBZone, Service-Disabled Vet or Woman-owned. This site has more information on GSA schedules.

Federal buyers and contracting officers: I urge you to wrap up the 2015 federal fiscal year and meet your agency’s goals with these resources.

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