GSA opens HUBZone governmentwide contract for business

The General Services Administration rolled out its latest IT governmentwide acquisition contract for firms in the Historically Underutilized Business Zone program yesterday.

And the Small Business Administration issued the first task order for a systems integration project last week.

Agencies may buy services from 36 firms in seven functional areas such as Internet services, call centers, distance learning, video conferencing, wiring and cabling, network design, network management and disaster preparedness and recovery off the five-year contract, which has a $2.5 billion ceiling.

'One of the advantages of the HUBZone GWAC is to assist agencies in meeting statutory goal in HUBZone participation,' said Keith Sandridge, acting assistant commissioner in the Office of Acquisition for GSA's Federal Technology Service.

At least 3 percent of agency procurements must be from HUBZone firms, which are in distressed areas determined by Census tracks or by income levels, according to the 1997 law creating the program.

'This also will help increase the small business participation for agencies, which is a big emphasis of the administration,' Sandridge said. 'Another aspect is the economic development that all HUBZone contractors are enthused to generate in their neighborhoods.'

GSA will hold training workshops in the coming months, following one yesterday in Kansas City, Mo., said Mary Parks, director of GSA's Small Business GWAC Center, which is operated under the Federal Supply Service. Parks said GSA has a marketing plan to make sure agencies know about the contract.

This is GSA's second small business-only GWAC. It also runs the 8(a) Federal Acquisition Services for Technology contract, which agencies have used for more than $1.5 billion in IT services since 1999, Parks said.

Sandridge expects the HUBZone contract to find similar success because it will help agencies do a better job of identifying qualified HUBZone firms.

When GSA started doing the market research for the contract, Sandridge said it was difficult to find qualified companies, but by the time the agency issued a request for proposals, there were plenty of HUBZone businesses.

'We hope this vehicle will provide agencies with a source so they know they can come to this GWAC and get the solutions they need and where they will be able to take credit in contracting goals,' Sandridge said.

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