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Set Asides for Government Contracts

Aug 18, 2017


By Brett Housholder, PTAC Program Manager

The federal government has certain goals for awarding contracts to certain types of small businesses it has to meet each year and it's a big advantage for Wyoming-based companies because the vast majority of businesses in the state qualify as "small" businesses, and many qualify as part of other groups that also receive preference for certain types of contracts.


The contracts are called "set asides" and your business will either have to go through a self-certification process or an official certification process that is reviewed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make sure the business qualifies.


There is a big advantage to set aside contracts because it means the pool of competition is limited to only small businesses, woman-owned businesses, etc. Also, in Wyoming, several of these set aside groups don't have many businesses in them so it limits the competition even further.


There are five basic types of businesses that qualify for set asides: small businesses, businesses owned by women, service-disabled veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and businesses located in HUBZones. Here's a quick look at each group and the federal goals for them:


  • Small Business - This one's simple enough. If the business is considered "small" by the SBA's Size Standard for the type of work it does (its NAICS Code), it qualifies for all small business set asides. The federal government has a goal of awarding 23% of all contact dollars to this group. 


  • Woman-Owned - A small business at least 51% owned and controlled by a woman or group of women. This group also includes a sub-category for economically disadvantaged woman-owned small businesses. The goal for this group is 5% of all contract dollars. 


  • Small Disadvantaged - A small business at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran or a group of service-disabled veterans. The goal for this group is 3% of all contract dollars. 


  • HUBZone - This one's a little different. The requirement here is that the small business is located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone and that 35% of the company's employees reside in that area as well. The goal for this group is 3% of all contract dollars. 


There are many more details to cover about each group and the certification process for each so please don't hesitate to contact the Wyoming SBDC Network PTAC to learn more. 


When he’s not running half marathons and 10Ks across the Western United States, Brett is the Program Manager for the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which helps Wyoming businesses sell their products and services to the government. Brett is located in our Casper office alongside SBDC teammates Cindy Unger and Justin Farley. For any questions about this article or how Brett can help your business learn more about government contracting, email him at


Audrey Jansen

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