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Small Business Government Programs and Opportunities

by Ilene Giles

Small business government contract opportunities

Small Business Opportunities

Small businesses in the federal government have procurements specifically set-aside for contract award.  For a procurement to be set aside, the Contracting Officer needs to expect that at least two responsible small businesses will respond with an offer, and the prices quoted are reasonable.

According to size standards set forth in the Small Business Administration rules and regulations *13 CFR Part 121, a small business is categorized by a company with 500 or fewer employees.

Since the recent economic decline, government agencies have been making an effort to rebuild the economy by utilizing small businesses.  For example, GSA currently has several solicitations that cater to small business set-asides such as Schedule 541 Advertising & Integrated Marketing Solutions (AIMS) under Special Item Numbers (SIN) 541-3, 541-4D, 541-4E, 541-4F.  To learn more about government set-aside acquisition goals, you can refer to

Here are a few small business set-asides that may interest you:


At least 23% of prime contracts are set aside for government actions.  It is named for section 8(a) of the small business act this program was developed to assist small disadvantaged businesses in the marketplace. For qualifications visit the SBA


Approximately 5% of prime and subcontracts are set aside for government actions.  At least 51% owned by one or more women, with a net worth of less than $750,000, and personal salary of less than $350,000 the preceding three years of certification.

Service Disabled Veteran Owned

About 3% of prime and subcontracts are set aside for government actions.  To qualify, you must be a veteran or service-disabled.


There are about 3% of prime contracts set aside for government actions. The name is derived from Historically Underutilized Business Zone your office needs to be located within that zone.

To qualify, you must be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, Community Development Corporation, Agricultural Cooperative, or Indian Tribe, and at least 35% of the employees must reside within the zone for a least 180 days or indefinitely.

* For more information in greater detail on small business size standards and set-asides please also view Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Parts 19.102 and 19.501

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