Sample Paper on Small Business Programs and Source Selection Plans

Small Business Programs and Source Selection Plans

Q1. Examine the purpose of the federal small business program to include a historical aspect of the government regulations that created the program.

Federal small business programs are programs that have been established by the government with a sole purpose of ensuring that small and economically disadvantaged businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in federal procurement. The program does this by offering special assistance to such businesses to enable them compete for a share of government contracts. This is because if left alone, these businesses will not be able to compete with other big businesses who are economically advantaged. According to section 15 of the Small Business Act, a reasonable portion of all the government contracts and purchases should be given to the small and disadvantaged businesses.

This program goes way back when the need to protect small business was identified. This was during the World War II. During this time, larger businesses increased their production in order to accommodate wartime defense.  Small businesses could not compete with this massive increase in production and Congress decided to help the small businesses to participate in the wartime production. They did this by creating smaller war Plant Corporation which mainly provided loans to private entrepreneurs, encouraged other financial institutions to give loans to small businesses, and helped small businesses in getting government contracts. This corporation was however dissolved after the World War II and its powers handed over to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. In 1953, the Reconstruction Finance Cooperation was abolished and Small business administration, SBA, formed under the Small Business Act of July 30th 1953. The major function of this act was to counsel small business owners and protect the interests of small businesses. The act also stated that small businesses will be given a fair portion of government’s contracts and surplus sales. This was to ensure equality between economically and socially advantaged businesses and economically and socially disadvantaged businesses (Compton 2009). After a federal study showed that most small businesses cannot keep up with changes in technology due to inaccessibility to credit, the Investment Company Act was established in 1958. The main reason for the establishment of this act was so that small businesses with high risk would be able to access long term equity and debt. Today the program has expanded its mandate to include several other areas like management assistance, assistance in getting federal contract, helping women and minorities and even armed forces veteran.

Q2. Evaluate the small business set-aside program in regard to the eligibility to participate.

A set-side is a type of procurement for which only a certain category of businesses can compete. The eligibility to participate in set-side programs is mainly determined by the businesses’ size and where the business is located geographically. According to the small business Act of 1953, there are five categories for the set-aside program. These categories include:

  1. Women held small businesses
  2. Small businesses that are participating in the minority group businesses and capital ownership development programs.
  3. Small businesses in historically underutilized zones
  4. Small businesses owned by veterans that are service-disabled
  5. Any other small business that does not fit into any of the categories listed above.

It is obvious from the above categories that one of the general requirements of eligibility is that a business must be a small business (Keyes 2004). A small business concerns one that is autonomously owned and managed, is not a leading force in the market where it operates, and meets the standards of a small business as establish by the small businesses administrator. Beside the general requirement, each category must full fill certain specific requirements in order to be eligible to participate in the program.

In the case of small businesses participating in minority business and capital ownership development programs, the business must be owned and operated without any condition by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Evidence of being socially and economically disadvantaged is also required. For example one should not have a net worth of more than $250,000 at the time they are applying for this program. Secondly, participants in this category should be citizens of United States and of good character. The business should also be able to show potential. That is the business should have been in operation for more than two years before applying for the program.

For those small businesses in historically underutilized zones, the participant in this program must be 51% owned and operated unconditionally by a United States citizen. The headquarters of the business should be in a historically underutilized zone and 31% of the employees should from these zones as well. A historically underutilized zone is a county or counties that are not metropolitan and the unemployment level is below average. For an area to be considered a historically underutilized zone, it must be certified by the small business administration as such.

To be eligible for participation in the set-side program under the women held businesses, two main requirements must be met. The first is that 51% of the business must be owned and controlled by a woman or women. And the second one is that management of the business must be controlled by a woman or women.

The fourth category is the small businesses operated by service-disabled veterans. To ensure eligibility for participation, 51% of the business must be owned and operated by a service-disabled veteran. A disabled veteran is said to be service- disabled if the disability occurred when the veteran was on duty.

Q3.  Assess the dollar threshold reserved for small business contracts in the scenario

In this scenario, the simplified acquisition threshold is applied in determining the dollar threshold. Under the simplified acquisition threshold acquisition, $150,000 is usually set-aside for acquisitions for small businesses except for acquisition that involves contingency matters or acquisitions to facilitate defence. Under this scenario, the contractor will be awarded $300,000 because the service acquisition is within the United States.

Q4. Analyze the contract formats for government contracts to include uniform and commercial formats. Determine which format to use for the small business contract described in the scenario.

The two main formats for government contract is the uniform and commercial format. The uniform contract is a contract format used by the government to make a request for proposal. When using this format blanks are left for those items that are subject to negotiation (Parvey & Alston 2008). Under this format, the contract is divided into four parts. And under each part, there are sections. The format is as shown below.

Part 1: This is where the schedule is contained. It has section A which is majorly the contract form. The most used form is form 33 whose contents includes name, address and location of the government; contract number; request for proposal; date; name, address and location of the offeror; number of pages; a brief description of the items or service and the signature of both parties. The second section is section B whose main contents are a list of the goods/services and their respective costs and prices. Under part 1 there is also section C which is the most critical part of the contract. This is because it describes the work that needs to be done and also a benchmark for measuring work done. The fifth section is section D which contains the packaging details. Next is section E which describes the method that will be used by the government to inspect and identify acceptable products/services (Moore 1996). Section F describes the method of delivery to be used. The last two sections in part 1 are section G and H which describes administrative data and special contract requirements respectively.

Part 2: This is the second part of the contract and it includes the contract clauses. These are the clauses required by law in the formation of a valid contract. The clauses should also include any other rule or policy reached between the participating parties.

Part 3: This part has only one section and the section includes a list of the documents and other attachment. The section usually includes the date, number of pages and title of the documents and attachments.

Part 4: This is the last part and it includes representation and instructions.

Commercial contract, on the other hand, is a contract between any two individuals. Therefore, the commercial contract format is not the same as the uniform one. This type of contract is much simpler, and hence has fewer sections compared to the uniform contract. Under this scenario, the contract format that I will use will be the uniform contract format. This is because it is the most suitable contract format when entering into a contract with the government.

Q5. Determine the purpose of the source selection evaluation plan.

The purpose of the source selection, evaluation plan is mainly to identify how the different proposal received by the government will be evaluated and how a proposal will be selected. The plan describes the role of each member of the selection and the evaluation team (Compton 2009). The plan enables the selection team to identify that proposal with significant strengths that will increase the likelihood of success in the upcoming projects. The plan also enables the selection and  the evaluation team to identify the proposal that needs clarification. This will help the team in ensuring that those issues that are in the proposal and are not clear are clarified by the offeror. This is because lack of clarification can lead to future problems which may affect the performance of the project. Another importance of the plan is that it also entails how various deficiency in the proposal presented will be identified (Rambaugh 2010). A deficiency in a proposal means that the proposal has not meant the government requirement. This indicates that if such a proposal becomes a project the chance of it being successful is minimal. Lastly the plan provides ways of identifying the various weaknesses in the proposal presented. A proposal with a lot of weaknesses if turned into a project is likely to carry the weaknesses to the project. This will in turn affect the performance of such a contract. Therefore a source selection and evaluation plan provides the selection and evaluation team with ways that they can use to evaluate a proposal before making the selection decision.

Q6. Create ranking of criteria for evaluation plans for this scenario

Creating criteria for  the evaluation plan before the procurement process is finalised is very important. This will ensure that the proposal presented before the evaluation and selection team is treated fairly. In this scenario the criteria for evaluation will follow the twelve steps below.

Step I: The proposal is received. This is done by the deadline date.

Step II: The proposals are opened in front of witnesses

Step III: Recording of date, time and name of offeror

Step IV: Price separation. This type does not always apply in every situation. The panel can decide to separate the proposals according to cost if it is deemed necessary.

Step V: Forward copies to evaluation panel

Step VI: Return of conflict of interest. This is where those proposals that conflict with the interest of the government are returned.

Step VII: Scoring of the proposal against the evaluation criteria. Every member of the panel gives a score to each and every proposal presented before them

Step VIII: Verification. This will be done only if necessary. The evaluation team will seek verification to certify the offeror’s ability and capacity to perform should his/her proposal be accepted.

Step IX: Record of scores awarded. A record of scores that were awarded to each and every proposal is documented and stored in a safe place. The reasons for awarding a certain score to a particular proposal should also be documented and stored.

Step X: Final decision. During this step, the evaluation team decides on the final scores and decide the person or persons to which the tender is awarded. The panel can reach this decision by tallying scores that various offerors have gotten from different members of the evaluation team or they can decide to discuss who to award the tender.

Step XI: Proposal report. After the panel has made their final decision they then write and present a report indicating the entire process of evaluation.

Step XII: Notification of successful and non-successful offerors. This is usually done after sign-o


Compton, P. (2009). Federal Acquisition: Key and Guidance (p. 292). Management concept.

Keyes, W. (2004). Government contracts in a nutshell (4th ed.). St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West.

Moore, D. (1996). Government contract negotiations: A practical guide for small businesses. New York: John Wiley.

Parvey, M., & Alston, D. (2008). Winning government contracts: How your small business can find and secure federal government contracts up to $100,000. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press.

Rumbaugh, M. (2010). Understanding government contract source selection. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.