The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded the second cohort of the 8(a) STARS III Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) to streamline procurement from prime contractors.

The 8(a) STARS III GWAC is a small business set-aside contract that provides flexible access to customized IT solutions from a large, diverse pool of 8(a) partners.

“This second cohort award represents another step forward for GSA’s long-term and ongoing commitment to support and provide mission-enabling modern IT solutions to federal agencies,” said Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Sonny Hashmi in a memo. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation’s economy. I’m proud of our partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration to create and sustain growth opportunities for socioeconomically disadvantaged companies in the Federal IT space.”

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The first phase of the fourth-generation $50 billion contract focuses primarily on emerging technologies and performance outside the U.S., and was issued in June 2021. The second phase provides additional opportunities for small businesses to coordinate with SBA.

Further, phase two advances GSA’s efforts to deliver “excellent, equitable, and secure” Federal services through:

  • Increasing agency access to emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and robotic process automation;
  • Supporting agency requirements for best-value solutions outside of the continental U.S.;
  • Helping agencies reach their sustainability goals; and
  • Implementing supply chain risk management best practices.

According to the GSA memo, the STARS III initiative supports the Biden Administration’s executive order on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities, as well as the administration’s commitment to advancing equity for small and disadvantaged business outcomes at critical stages of the Federal contracting lifecycle.

“Since their inception in 1997, more than $20 billion has been awarded through GSA’s 8(a) GWACs, with more than 2,000 8(a) industry partners gaining new access to the Federal IT marketplace through this program,” said Laura Stanton, GSA’s assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category. “This award represents GSA’s continued commitment to delivering for our customer agencies while also providing opportunities to underserved industry partners.”

Awards for the third and final cohort are planned for later in fiscal year 2022.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.