NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Blog: NASA and Small Business


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Improvements in Small Business Programs

In November 2006, NASA's performance in the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Small Business Procurement (SBP) Scorecard was rated "red" for current status and "red" for progress. We had only met two of the nine rating elements necessary to receive a "yellow" rating in current status. To improve our small business program, we put into place a detailed plan of action, the Small Business Improvement Plan. One of the plan's actions was to rename the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) to reflect the addition of new programs to assist small businesses in the federal procurement arena.

The Small Business Improvement Plan was developed and implemented with input from each of the NASA Centers. It will provide a strong foundation for the continued improvement of the NASA Small Business Program. As part of the plan, we formed a Small Business Specialist Council to improve communications throughout the agency and with both large and small industry partners. We also formed several new Center-based Industry Councils to develop a better understanding of the local issues at each Center so an agency strategy for utilizing small business in support of the Vision for Space Exploration can be developed. In addition, the OSBP enhanced the office website to be user friendly and provide more information on how to do business with each of the NASA Centers.

The OSBP, working with the Procurement Office, has developed new contract clauses and procedures that provide more opportunities for small business participation in NASA procurements. NASA also will restart its Mentor Protege program in January 2008, after restructuring the program to make it more beneficial for the small business community and the agency.

The results of these changes are documented in NASA's FY 2007 Mid-Year Small Business Procurement Scorecard rating, which was released on August 17, 2007. NASA was rated "red" in progress; however, NASA received credit for achieving eight of the nine rating elements--a great improvement over the previous scorecard. Further, NASA improved from "red" to "yellow" in the progress element of the scorecard for the many new initiatives implemented to improve its Small Business Program.

Based on NASA's continuous improvements in its Small Business Program, it is anticipated that the agency will obtain a rating of "yellow" for both status and progress on the final FY 2007 Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

Small Business Program Events

On November 6, NASA will be presenting the inaugural Small Business Advocates Awards which recognize NASA personnel that have demonstrated exceptional support to the agency's small business programs. These awards will honor agency employees for the innovative ways they have utilized small business programs to enable NASA to better accomplish its goals.

NASA's OSBP is working to provide small businesses with enhanced access to NASA and with more opportunities to do business with the Agency. At Business Opportunity Expos, small businesses have the opportunity to present their capabilities to NASA small business specialists and procurement and technical personnel from throughout the Agency and communicate with large businesses that support NASA. The 17th annual NASA Business Opportunities Expo was held on October 16 near Kennedy Space Center and was attended by approximately 900 people and featured 175 exhibitors. These expos also are a means for small businesses to network with each other and develop long lasting business relationships.

Congratulations to a NASA Small Business Partner

Integrated Science Solutions, Inc. (ISSI), a small woman-owned business that supports NASA, was named 2007 SBA Region IX Prime Contractor of the Year (image at left). This award honors small businesses that have provided the federal government with outstanding goods and services as prime contractors. ISSI, which is a certified woman-owned science and engineering firm started in 1999, supports NASA Ames by performing the Environmental Support Services Contract at the Center. The company's president and CEO, Ms. Cecelia McCloy, was recently appointed to a three-year term on the National Women's Business Council.

Prime Contractor of the Year nominations are judged on the following criteria: overall management, technical capabilities, cost performance, resource utilization, financial strength, delivery performance, labor relations, special achievements, customer interface, and exceptional results. ISSI and the other Regional winners were presented awards by President George Bush and SBA Administrator Mr. Steven Preston during Small Business Week 2007 in Washington, DC.

I would like to congratulate ISSI on this distinct honor.

The NASA Office of Small Business Programs can be reached at (202) 358-2088 or via e-mail at smallbusiness@nasa.gov .

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