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SBA-Proposed Size Standard Increases for Information & Admin Services Industries Reflect Changes

Tuesday, October 18, 2011  
Posted by: Matthew Boyle
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Proposed rules published today for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses in 52 industries in two broad categories of businesses, ranging from travel agencies and movie production to waste management.

The proposed adjustments to size standards in 15 industries in Sector 51 of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), "Information,” and in 37 industries in Sector 56, "Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services,” reflect changes in marketplace conditions in those sectors.

In both sectors, the proposed changes are based on annual gross revenues. The standards delineate how large a business can be and still qualify as small for federal government programs. The dollar limits refer to annual revenues averaged over three years.

As part of the ongoing comprehensive review of all size standards that began in 2007, the SBA evaluated all industries in these sectors that have revenue-based size standards to determine whether the existing size standards should be adjusted. Before 2007, the last overall review of size standards occurred more than 25 years ago. Under provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA will continue its comprehensive review of all size standards for several years.

The proposed changes take into account the structural characteristics within individual industries, including average firm size, degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends. This ensures that size definitions reflect current economic conditions within those industries.

The upward revisions would allow some small businesses that are close to exceeding their current size standards to retain small business eligibility under the proposed higher size standards, and give federal agencies a larger selection of small businesses to choose from for small business procurement opportunities. They also would allow more small businesses to qualify for SBA financial assistance. SBA estimates that up to 500 more firms in Sector 51 and 2,700 more companies in Sector 56 will qualify for SBA assistance and other federal programs if the proposed revisions are adopted.

Interested parties can submit comments on these proposed rules on or before Dec. 12, 2011. The SBA recommends that comments be submitted online at or mailed to Khem R. Sharma, Chief, Size Standards Division, 409 3rd St., SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, D.C. 20416. The SBA will post all comments to for public review. The SBA does not accept comments submitted by email.

To see the industries that would be affected by the proposed rule, click here

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