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Federal Contracting: Opportunities In the Face of Challenge

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

While many segments of the economy are experiencing unprecedented loss, one sector of the economy, the federal government, is rapidly increasing its spending to combat the COVID-19 virus. Reported spending obligations for COVID-19 as of May 18 are about $11.6 billion and are expected to increase in the coming weeks. (Note: every time the numbers are updated, the previous link will reflect those updates.) Here are a few of the numbers you should be aware of as a federal contractor.

Elizabeth Sullivan Agencies flowing the most dollars to small businesses are the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS) and Agriculture (USDA). Veterans Affairs has awarded over $624 million, while SBA has the second highest dollars to small businesses with $573 million. Of the total dollars spent by the Department of Homeland Security so far on coronavirus, about 20% was awarded to small businesses. That is a little over $317 million of the total $1.6 billion spent as of May 18, 2020. 

Dollars are also being awarded to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). Across all agencies, since March, over $735 million has been awarded to WOSBs to assist with COVID-19 relief. Just for some context – this number has exceeded the total dollars awarded for WOSBs in FY2018, which was $473.1 million. So, in a matter of months, the dollars awarded have exceeded an entire fiscal year’s previous spend. This increase has been across small business programs – service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) also have been awarded $578 million and HUBZone companies $161 million. 

A few examples of how and what federal agencies are pursuing in terms of COVID-19 assistance include HHS refocusing its research contracts to seek assistance with COVID-19 and the Army seeking new technology to help prevent, treat and manage the coronavirus. The SBA is on a hiring spree given their new responsibility to process $620 billion in loans to small businesses.

So, how can you take advantage of this new spending? In addition to working with  your existing federal customers, there are two other ways to showcase your capabilities to assist with COVID-19.

  1. Sign up on the Disaster Response Registry in SAM, where you can submit your COVID-19 related capability statements and product offerings. This registry is used agency-wide.
  2. Submit inquiries to the DHS Procurement Action Innovative Response (PAIR) Team. DHS created this in response to the surge of incoming industry offers of help and innovative ideas to support the fight against COVID-19. 

By the time you read this, more dollars will have been spent. Make sure you are taking advantage of these opportunities now. 



Tags:  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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