GSA Startup Springboard Isn’t Just for IT Anymore
Under the GSA Schedule Program, IT startups have long held an advantage over startups from other industries. That will change with the release of GSA Schedule Solicitation Refresh 12 this month. Refresh 12 will include several adjustments to the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract, more commonly known as the GSA Schedule. The most notable change is arguably the expansion of the Startup Springboard program to all GSA Large Categories.
Outside of the GSA Springboard program, a company must have at least two years in business to qualify for a GSA Schedule Contract. While the two-year business requirement helps GSA vet the stability of businesses interested in obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract, it stifles the availability of emerging technologies typically associated with startups. GSA recognized the requirement designed to protect government buyers from companies without proven success, was also preventing government buyers from accessing innovative technology. To address the problem, GSA created the Startup Springboard.
GSA introduced the Startup Springboard in 2016 as part of GSA’s Making It Easier initiative. At the time, the program provided an exception to the two-year corporate experience requirement under the IT Schedule 70 Contract. Today, that exception applies to companies pursuing a GSA MAS Contract under the IT Large Category.
Who Qualifies for GSA’s Startup Springboard?
Prior to May 16, 2022, only companies who offered IT products or services under the IT Large Category were eligible for GSA’s Startup Springboard. However, as of May 16, 2022, all GSA Schedule Large Categories, Subcategories, and Special Item Numbers (SINs) are eligible for the Startup Springboard program. Explore each category below to see the types of products and services you can offer under each category.
- Furniture & Furnishings
- Human Capital
- Industrial Products and Services
- Information Technology
- Office Management
- Professional Services
- Scientific Management and Solutions
- Security and Protection
- Transportation and Logistics Services
Getting a GSA Schedule Using Springboard
Keep in mind, under the Startup Springboard, you must still demonstrate financial stability, as well as the ability to manage a company of the size and scope you propose to GSA. While you do not need to provide two years of financial statements, you do still need to provide past performance, references, pricing, and invoicing – all of which can be a challenge for startups.
Aside from eliminating the two-year business requirement, the Startup Springboard also allows you to use the experience of your company executives. However, you will still be required to address:
- Financial documentation that demonstrates your financial responsibility
- Number of employees, experience in the field, and resources available to enable it to fulfill requirements
- Past performance projects or history of activities contributing to development of expertise and capabilities
- Organizational structure and accounting controls
- Current in-house resources or the ability to acquire the type and kinds of personnel/products proposed
- Government marketing strategy
- Planned use of subcontractors
GSA Springboard and Joint Ventures (JVs)
Historically, the two-year corporate experience requirement has presented a challenge to joint ventures interested in pursuing a GSA Schedule. Joint ventures are a type of partnership where two or more small businesses or companies in a Mentor-Protégé relationship combine their resources and capabilities to compete for government contracts. JVs are considered legal entities and are required to register on SAM.
Unfortunately, the expansion of Springboard will not clear the path completely for JVs. During a webinar this week on Refresh 12, GSA clarified that the Springboard program does not address JVs or JV Mentor-Protégé partnerships. However, GSA shared that their policy team has been working on a way to address JV’s and may be coming close to finalizing a solution. That said, it could still be quite some time before anything is officially rolled out.
Need Help with the GSA Springboard Proposal Process?
Our team here at FEDSched has been working with the Startup Springboard since GSA first introduced the program more than six years ago. We helped develop and negotiate the GSA Schedule Contracts for some of the first Springboard awardees. Contact us to discuss if your company is eligible for Springboard and how we can navigate you through the process.