Small Business Government Contracting in 2020

It is officially the year 2020 and that means it is time to examine what the landscape looks like in the government contracting world as we head into a new year. Some trends will inevitably remain the same, while new trends and certain procedural and legislative changes may mean revisiting the old SWOT analysis for some small business government contractors. In an effort to highlight the major players affectively shaping government contracting in 2020, let’s break it down:


No surprise here, technology is continuing to force businesses to adapt as it evolves with overwhelming rapidity. We aren’t talking flying cars yet, but many groundbreaking technologies have effectively changed the way the world does business, i.e. the cloud, AI and machine learning, blockchain, etc. As small businesses hustle to stay current and weight the pros and cons of investing in the newest tech, it is important to note which capabilities the government is looking to require for contractors when making an award.

According Bloomberg Government (BGOV), cybersecurity will become essential for contractors and their subprimes competing for certain contracts and task orders. The Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will set different levels of cybersecurity which must be met in order to be considered for various contracts. BGOV added that, “the CMMC program will create opportunities for firms to differentiate themselves based on their cyber defense postures and raise the demand for third-party assessment services”.


The government is taking steps to help small businesses remain competitive in the federal marketplace. The Small Business Runway Extension Act (HR 6330) should become effective in 2020, which extends the calculation period for receipts-based size standards for small businesses from 3 years to 5 years.

Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019 (HR 5146) will potentially help small businesses break into new markets by allowing them to use past performance from which they served as subprimes.  

Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019 (HR 190) eliminates the inclusion of option years in the award price for certain sole source contracts (i.e., contracts awarded without a competitive process). Under current law, option years in the award price for such contracts limit their dollar award threshold.


As the technological and legal landscape shifts, small business government contractors must be responsive and adaptable. There are many changes that are encouraging for the future of small business government contracting, and it appears that there are many more to come. Staying current is half the battle!

Author: Paul McVeigh


Passed in the House: Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019

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For small businesses hoping to unlock more opportunities to win prime contracts with federal agencies, there may be some good news from Washington. On January 8, 2020, a bill entitled, “H.R.5146 Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019,” passed the House of Representatives, and was read in the Senate the following day.

The purpose of the bill, provided on, is as follows: “To amend the Small Business Act to require contracting officers to take a small business concern’s past performance as part of a joint venture into account when evaluating the small business concern, and for other purposes.”

H.R.5146, sponsored by Representative Jim Hagedorn [R-MN-1] and cosponsored by Representative Dwight Evans [D-PA-3], seeks to fix a growing issue concerning the small business government contracting industry. Currently, small business contractors experience a great deal of difficulty expanding their scope of work, since the government will not yet officially consider past performance relevant if the work was not performed as the prime contractor. The current landscape is such that small businesses are joining together more frequently to form stronger, more competitive entities for entering the federal marketplace seeking to win government contracts. This bill aims to catch up to the times, requiring work done within these joint ventures to be considered for future competitive contracts.

This bill is the latest in the increased effort by the U.S. government to help small businesses remain competitive in the government contracting market. Legislation in the Senate (S-3038) seeks to help though greater use of Small Business Association programs and reducing barriers, and the President has signed into law (P.L. 116-103), which standardizes the financial data which agencies will use in the award process.

It is encouraging to observe such legislature achieving success. The economy may be doing well and employment situation figures may be impressive, but it is important the note that when small businesses thrive, everybody wins.

Author: Paul McVeigh