The Small Business Act of 1958 states, “The government should aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small-business concerns... to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the nation.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District takes this to heart and extends their policy to provide maximum contracting opportunities to small businesses.
Small businesses are independently owned and operated, not dominant in their field of operation and meet special size standards for employees and annual revenues. There are eight categories of the small business program, but only five have required reporting goals. They are small businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and Historically Underutilized Business Zones small businesses. The SBA is responsible for ensuring that goals in these categories are established annually and the Charleston District awards relative percentages of contracts to each of these categories.
The District’s contract acquisition team works on the principles of integrity, honesty and fairness, and has specific actions they take to ensure small businesses are awarded appropriate contracts, such as any contract between $3,500-150,000 are reserved for small businesses, or determining if contracts of more than that amount could be performed by a combination of two small businesses. Another action is encouraging large businesses that are awarded large contracts to provide subcontracting opportunities to small businesses.
In fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a whole awarded more than $5.8 billion in contracts to small businesses, including more than $128 million from the Charleston District. In FY15, the District achieved all of its small business goals and awarded 81 percent of all contracts to small businesses, which resulted in three awards received at the annual Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Small Business Conference.
The Charleston District is proud to provide contracting opportunities to all categories of small businesses. This creates a positive image of high ethical standards that small businesses are based on and want to work for.