Set Asides (Certs)

The SBA (Small Business Administration) has several programs available for businesses that qualify under certain social economic statuses called SET-ASIDES.

Small business set-asides are a powerful tool for helping small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. Every year, the federal government purchases approximately $400 billion in goods and services from the private sector. When market research concludes that small businesses are available and able to perform the work or provide the products being procured by the government, those opportunities are “set-aside” exclusively for small business concerns.

The SBA (Small Business Administration) has several programs available for businesses that qualify under certain social economic statuses called SET-ASIDES.

These programs can help small businesses expedite the process of receiving contracts if they understand how to participate in them. When applying for a set -aside a business must be 100% truthful, as misrepresenting a company's status can have serious consequences.

Most large contracts require the prime contractor to subcontract a large portion of the work to small businesses or businesses that qualify under certain social economic statuses to stay in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

GCR provides the service of completing the paperwork process, approval and maintenance of these registrations for our clients. We have experienced senior processors in the areas of: woman owned small business (WOSB), economically disadvantaged woman owned small business (EDWOSB), woman business enterprise (WBE), minority business enterprise (MBE), veteran owned small business (VOSB), service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB), historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone), and 8(a) business development certifications. We assist with congruency registration modeling from your internal business structure documents, state registrations, county registrations, and federal registrations to ensure certification and federal level business compliances. We also fully assist with post award registration optimization once the award is received. From sign up to post award servicing we have your one stop needs for any small business certifications you qualify for.

  • Preparation and filing of all WOSB/EDWOSB applications and supporting documentation
  • Preparation and filing of all HUBZone applications and supporting documentation
  • Preparation and filing of all 8(a) business development program applications and supporting documentation
  • Preparation and filing of all VetBIZ applications and supporting documentation

We also offer a Quick-Start guide that provides our clients contracting basics 101 in an easy to read outline that guides them through the major milestones of the formal bid process. This document will detail how to field proposals, how to hold meetings to evaluate current market position, resource allocations, and ability to perform on the desired contract with all government compliances adhered to. It walks clients through how to best utilize our proposal development software Select GCR Pro and they will be shown the basics on how to search, field, allocate, develop, draft, edit, and summarize their formal response.

All contracts start with proper registration –

  • Purchasing agents cannot award a contract to a business that has an incomplete, expired, or improper registration
  • All data must coincide with what has been supplied to D&B and the IRS
  • Choosing the correct NAICS codes for products and/or services is crucial.

Benefits of Being a Minority Owned Business –

Businesses that are certified as minority -owned can take advantage of special government programs, including increased access to government contracting opportunities that can help them grow their business quicker.

Does Your Business Qualify as a Certified Minority-Owned Business?

Applicants must meet the following criteria for certification:

  1. Business must be 51 % or greater owned by an Economically Disadvantaged Individual
    Economically Disadvantage: An Individual who is socially disadvantaged, and has not been given fair opportunity to receive proper funding through capital and/or credit.
  2. Business must be 51% or greater owned by a Socially Disadvantaged Individual
    Social Disadvantaged Individual: Individual ethnicity being African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian Pacific American, Native-American, Subcontinent American, or with a documented disability that creates Social Disadvantage.
  3. Adjusted Net worth $250,000.00 or less
  4. Personal Income Average over the last 3 year period: $250,000.00 or less
  5. Total Personal assets: Less than $4 Million Dollars
  6. Must be considered a Small Business by SBA standards. This is determined by your NAICS codes
  7. Must Be U.S. Citizen Must Be in Business for Minimum of 2 years

The certification process can take up to 90 days and applicants should be prepared to submit numerous business documents. Once certified as a minority-owned business, the minority business executives have access to program benefits, among which are opportunities to grow their businesses by gaining private and government contracts through inclusion in (and access to) supplier databases, regional leads and alerts for procurement opportunities from corporate members.

*Individuals are presumed to be socially disadvantaged if they hold themselves to be a member of a presumed group or are currently identified by others as a member of a presumed group, which include:

  • Black American
  • Hispanic American
  • Native American
  • Asian Pacific American
  • Subcontinent Asian American

Other individuals may be found socially disadvantaged and therefore eligible for the program on a case by case basis.

*Economically disadvantage eligibility is only determined after social disadvantage has been determined. For purposes of program eligibility, economically disadvantaged individuals are “socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities.” An individual seeking an economically disadvantaged designation must provide the following to the SBA for consideration:

  • Narrative statement of economic disadvantage
  • Personal financial information including tax returns and specific SBA forms; including separate financial information pertaining to a spouse when the applying individual is married

Assuming that an individual applying for an 8(a) certification is a member of a presumed socially disadvantaged group and has met the requirements for economically disadvantaged designation, they must also:

  • Be a business that demonstrates potential for success
  • Have leaders that show good character
  • Meet separate eligibility requirements if they are businesses owned by American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians or Certified Development Companies

The Benefits of Being a Minority-Owned Business with Certification

From federal and government agencies to private corporations, there are many organizations that want to do business with minority-owned businesses and would even prefer to do so. Certifications may provide your business with opportunities it might not otherwise be able to compete for.

Many federal government agencies are even mandated to reward a substantial number of contracts to certified minority-owned businesses. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires that at least 10 percent of the money spent on contracts for certain projects go to businesses that are minority-owned, and entities (such as state transportation agencies) that receive DOT funding are required to develop Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs to ensure compliance.

Government agencies are not the only organizations that want to award work to minority-owned businesses. The corporations that work with members of the NMSDC include such illustrious brands as IBM, Microsoft, Marriott and many others.

Additional benefits are –

  • Your organization will receive a government assigned contact to mentor you through the entire 9 year 8 (a) business development program
  • Your organization will receive access to set a side government procurements that you previously could not access, and could not bid on
  • Your organization will have access to Business counseling services from your assigned government 8 (a) certification officer
  • Your organization will have access to 8 (a) training that will increase your awareness of the different set aside procurements, and avenues to maximize your revenue through the use of your new 8 (a) BD certification
  • Your organization will now be eligible for financial assistance in the form of low interest loans, grants, and other fiduciary benefits that only 8 (a) certification holders have access to
  • If your organization requires Bonding (construction and labor companies usually) you receive secure and guaranteed Surety Bonding through your new 8 (a) certification through SBA

Leveraging Certification to attain Government Contracts - Any business, including minority-owned businesses, must register with applicable federal and state programs through which contracts are advertised and awarded. Minority ownership may or may not be a factor in individual contract specifications; however, some contracts may even be exclusively set aside and awardable only to minority-owned businesses. Minority-owned businesses that want to compete for federal contracts must first register with SAM (System for Award Management). Each contract will have its own specific supplier or vendor requirements.

Benefits of Being a Veteran Owned Business –

Government contracting can open up millions of dollars’ worth of new business. Now, if you've served in the military, and especially if you've incurred a service-related disability, you are eligible for a certification that will put you squarely in line to receive up between 3 to 5% of prime federal government contracts and subcontracts, according to The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999.

For that reason, many people certify their business for VOSB or SDVOSB. Even if you're not interested in working with the government, research by the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) shows that 70 percent of Americans would prefer to do business with a veteran-owned business than one that is not veteran-owned. Advertising your "veteran-owned business" status on your storefront, signage, website, letter head, and at the bottom of e-mails may be all you need to attract new business.

Does Your Business Qualify as a Certified Veteran-Owned Business?

Applicants must meet the following criteria for certification:

  1. Must be considered a Small Business by SBA standards.
    - This is determined by your NAICS codes.
  2. Owned and Controlled 51% or greater by a Service Disabled Veteran U.S. Citizen
  3. A U.S. Service Disabled Veteran holds the highest officer position & is the highest compensated employee
  4. Business is properly licensed, structured, registered with Federal and State Government Service Disabled Veteran has no Federal debts or obligations outstanding
  5. Must be in Business with IRS Tax ID (Any length of time is acceptable)

Benefits of SDVOSB & VOSB Program Participation

  • Ability to bid on Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business set-a-side Solicitations
  • 3% of all federal monetary funds per year must be spent across Service Disabled Veteran Owned Certified Contractors.
  • 20% Preferential Procurement assignment with all VA Procurements
  • Access to Veteran Owned Small Business Conferences and Tradeshows Nationwide
  • Access to SBA Office of Veteran Business Development : Includes: Business Training, Counseling, Financial Assistance
  • Authorization to use SBA SDVOSB logo on all business correspondences, emails, letterhead, and websites

Benefits of Being a Woman Owned Business –

Businesses that are certified as woman-owned can take advantage of special government programs, including increased access to government contracting opportunities that can help them grow their business quicker.

Does Your Business Qualify as a Certified Woman-Owned Business?

Applicants must meet the following criteria for certification:

  1. Business must be 51% or greater owned by a Woman
  2. Daily Operations Management must be by a Woman
  3. The highest officer position must be held by a Woman
  4. The Woman must manage the business full-time & must devote full-time hours to the management of the business
  5. The Woman has Ultimate Managerial and Supervisory Control
  6. Primary NAICS code selection must fall within 1 of the 83 WOSB set-aside NAICS

The certification process can take up to 90 days and applicants should be prepared to submit numerous business documents. Once certified as a woman-owned business, the woman business executives have access to program benefits, among which are opportunities to grow their businesses by gaining private and government contracts through inclusion in (and access to) supplier databases, regional leads and alerts for procurement opportunities from corporate members.

The Benefits of Being a Woman-Owned Business with Certification

From federal and government agencies to private corporations, there are many organizations that want to do business with woman-owned businesses and would even prefer to do so. Certifications may provide your business with opportunities it might not otherwise be able to compete for.

Many federal government agencies are even mandated to reward a substantial number of contracts to certified woman-owned businesses.

Government agencies are not the only organizations that want to award work to woman-owned businesses. The corporations that work with members of the WOSB include such illustrious brands as IBM, Microsoft, Marriott and many others.

Any business, including woman-owned businesses, must register with applicable federal and state programs through which contracts are advertised and awarded. Woman ownership may or may not be a factor in individual contract specifications; however, some contracts may even be exclusively set aside and awardable only to woman-owned businesses.

Woman-owned businesses that want to compete for federal contracts must first register with SAM (System for Award Management). Each contract will have its own specific supplier or vendor requirements.

When becoming a registered woman-owned business you will build a strong relationship with the NWBOC (National Woman Business Owners Corporation). NWBOC helps you promote your business in several ways. Once you are WOSB certified with NWBOC, you are automatically listed in or have access to the following promotional tools

  • Complimentary Platinum Level Vendor listing in NWBOC's interactive eProcurement Marketplace
  • Complimentary listing in NWBOC's internal procurement database of WOSB-certified companies
  • Procurement list of over 1,000 private and public sector purchasing contacts
  • The NWBOC Quarterly Newsletter, in which your "good news" story can be highlighted
  • The NWBOC logo and WOSB Certification designation so that you can add it to your marketing materials and website.

WOSB Certification is a tool you will use for new business opportunities; to help set your company apart in the marketplace, and to add credibility.

Additional WOSB benefits are –

  • Your organization will receive access to procurements on the federal level that are set aside for only Woman Owned Businesses to increase your revenue in your area of products and/or services
  • Your organization will receive access to 5% of all federal funding dollars that is spent on Woman Owned Businesses
  • Once registered and approved your organization will receive a free listing on the National Woman Business Owners Corporation Website as a Woman Owned Certified Organization
  • Your organization will receive monthly newsletters from the National Woman Business Owners Corporation which includes valuable information and assistance on: Procurement Fairs, Trade Shows targeted to Woman Owned Businesses, Assistance on set a side procurements for Woman Owned Businesses, Free listing in NWBOC’s procurement database
  • Your organization will receive access to Woman Owned Procurement list of over 1,000 private and public sector purchasing contracts
  • Authority to use NWBOC and Woman Owned Business logo on your website, company letterhead, and any other areas for marketing and business purposes

Benefits of having your Business in a HUBZone –

The HUBZone Program is designed to stimulate economic development and create jobs in urban and rural communities. The program provides contracting opportunities to small businesses located in, and hiring employees from, Historically Underutilized Business Zones. If you and your business qualify, it could help you break into the business of government contracting.

The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Empowerment Contracting program, which was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997, provides federal contracting assistance and opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed historically underutilized business zones, known as "HUBZone."

Among other things, it allows small firms located in many urban or rural areas to qualify for sole-source and other types of federal contract benefits. The underlying purpose of the program is to encourage economic development and increase employment opportunities.

The HUBZone program falls under the auspices of the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is responsible for implementing the program and determining which businesses are eligible to receive HUBZone contracts. SBA maintains a listing of qualified HUBZone small businesses that federal agencies can use to locate vendors and also adjudicates protests of eligibility to receive HUBZone contracts. In addition, SBA is responsible for reporting to Congress on the program's impact on employment and investment in HUBZone areas.

Does Your Business Qualify as a HUBZone Business?

Applicants must meet the following criteria for certification:

  1. Must be considered a Small Business by SBA standards. This is determined by your NAICS codes.
  2. Owned and Controlled 51% or greater by U.S. Citizen Or Community Development Corporation, Agricultural Cooperative, or Indian Tribe
  3. Home office/Principal Office Must be within a designated HUBZone:
  4. At least 35% of Employees MUST reside within a HUBZone

The Benefits of the HUBZone Program

  • Competitive and Sole Sourcing Contracting
  • 10 % price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities.
  • 3% of all federal monetary funds per year must be spent across HUBZone certified Contractors.
  • Ability to bid on HUBZone set-a-side Solicitations
  • Ability to sign up with HUBZone Council as a Certified HUBZone Organization Includes: Complimentary Legal Services, Marketing & Contracting Opportunities, Information & Support Utilizing your HUBZone Certification, Full Listing of Exclusive Members Only Services
  • SBA Surety Bonding & Loans Program : HUBZone Firms qualify for SBA-guaranteed surety bonds on construction and service contract bids & SBA program loans for HUBZone Certified Organizations

Some additional benefits are employer tax credits, tax-free facility bonds, and investment tax deductions.

Existing businesses that choose to move to qualified areas are eligible. To fulfill the 35 percent requirement, employees must live in a primary residence within that area for at least 180 days or be a currently registered voter in that area.

To be designated a "HUBZone," an area must also meet certain criteria. It must be located in one or more of the following three areas:

  • A qualified census tract (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986)
  • A qualified "non-metropolitan county" (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) with a median household income of less than 80 percent of the State median household income or with an unemployment rate of not less than 140 percent of the statewide unemployment rate, based on U.S. Department of Labor recent data
  • Or a federally recognized Indian reservation.

The certification process is fully electronic, Internet-based, and integrated with CCR. The SBA will verify eligibility and make sure that ownership, location, and employment percentage requirements are satisfied. The average time for processing is approximately 30 days, and SBA's decision will be in writing.

There are four types of contract benefits that a HUBZone certified business can qualify for:

  1. A competitive HUBZone contract can be awarded if the Contracting Officer has a reasonable expectation that at least two qualified HUBZone small businesses will submit offers and that the contract can be awarded at a fair market price.
  2. A sole source HUBZone contract can be awarded if the Contracting Officer does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more qualified HUBZone small businesses will submit offers, determines that the qualified HUBZone small business is responsible, and determines that the contract can be awarded at a fair price. The government estimate cannot exceed $5 million for manufacturing purchases or $3 million for all other requirements.
  3. A full and open competition contract can be awarded with a price evaluation preference. The offer of the HUBZone small business will be considered lower than the offer of a non-HUBZone/non-small business, providing that the offer of the HUBZone small business is not more than 10 percent higher than that of the non-HUBZone business.
  4. A subcontract could be awarded by a large prime contractor. Federal rules require these contractors to include HUBZone contracting goals.

For further information and to find out if your location is in a HUBZone, you can visit the SBA website at https://eweb1.sba.gov/hubzone/internet/.

The system allows searches by address, county or town and displays metropolitan areas, Indian reservations and areas that qualify by income, unemployment rate, or both.