GSA seeks 'breakthrough' on small business

Tuesday - 12/6/2011, 8:49pm EST

Julia Hudson, GSA National Capital Region administrator

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

The General Services Administration wants more small businesses to start competing for government contracts.

The agency held a "Business Breakthrough" seminar this week to help provide resources for small companies that want to take the government-contracting plunge.

The seminar hosted some 80 businesses in the Washington, D.C., area and featured remarks by GSA Administrator Martha Johnson and Julia Hudson, GSA's National Capital Regional Administrator, on opportunities in the federal sector for smaller firms.

Julia Hudson, GSA's National Capital Region administrator. (Photo: GSA.gov)

Hudson joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss the seminar and GSA's overall efforts to get small businesses plugged into government business.

The seminar, which took place in Arlington, Va., capped off a nationwide GSA tour, Hudson said.

"We designed this so that we can give businesses a much better understanding of the federal procurement process so that they can actually increase contracting opportunities," Hudson said, "and so that all of us can be in the business of creating jobs, jobs and more jobs in this tough economy."

The federal government's goal is to award at least 23 percent of prime contracts to small businesses, Hudson said.

GSA's National Capital region awarded 24 percent of contracts to small companies, she added. "My region is doing pretty good in comparison to the overall umbrella, but there's always room for us to improve," she said.

The conference, which began today and runs for the next two, has something to offer for various small businesses — from those that are completely new to the government sphere to those with a little more experience.

Some companies are already "well-versed in how to produce a quality GSA schedule," she explained. But the "breakthrough" program offers companies an opportunity to learn more. "They get an up-close (and) bird's-eye view of what types of services GSA actually buys and then the services that we offer across industries."

The seminars also focus on the mentor-protege relationship between companies.

"A lot of times, folks can stand on their own two feet," Hudson said, "but when you partner with someone who may do something that you may not be able to offer, a lot of times it gives you a better shot at being able to seal the deal."