SBA simplifies small-business registration, launches verification database

The Small Business Administration is giving small businesses a single point of registration and taking over the process of declaring whether a business qualifies for its programs.

Beginning Jan. 1, businesses will need to register only with the Central Contractor Registration, the government's database of all contractors. They will no longer have to also register with the SBA's Pro-Net, its database of small businesses.

CCR, which is managed by the Defense Department, will assume all of Pro-Net's search capabilities and functions, and the Pro-Net name will be retired, according to SBA officials.

The data in Pro-Net and CCR were integrated more than a year ago, but Pro-Net and CCR maintained separate search engines. Now there will be one portal for entering and searching for federal contractors, including small business sources, said Linda Williams, associate administrator in the SBA's Office of Government Contracting.

To conduct market research and confirm eligibility for SBA's procurement preference programs, such as 8(a) and HUBZone, users can go to www.ccr.gov and click on the 'Dynamic Small Business Search' button.

Meanwhile, SBA, rather than the contractors, will declare whether companies qualify as small businesses.

Businesses will enter into CCR data such as their revenue, number of employees and North American Industry Classification System codes, which describe what they sell. SBA's new Small Business Source System will perform the calculations to determine whether the business qualifies. The business' status will then be recorded in the CCR, said Arthur Collins, deputy associate administrator of the HUBZone program.

'We are hoping that with this electronic routine we will get better information,' Williams said. 'We can make sure we will screen these self-certified companies before they get on the database as small. That is a great enhancement to the database.'

The CCR database improvements are part of the Business Partner Network, an initiative designed to simplify governmentwide contractor registration. The network is part of the Integrated Acquisition Environment, an e-government project designed to streamline federal acquisition by creating common business processes for buyers and sellers in the federal marketplace.

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