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WT 360 Podcast, with RJO Attorney Stephen Bacon: Getting SBIR tech into the mainstream still has challenges

February 23, 2023

RJO attorney, Stephen Bacon sat down with Nick Wakeman on WT 360’s recent podcast to discuss a recent GAO decision concerning SBIR Phase III contracts.

The agency in this case was seeking news briefing services. The protester wanted to fulfill the agency’s requirement using media analysis software it developed under prior SBIR contracts.

The protester argued that the agency was required to award this work as an SBIR Phase III contract pursuant to the special acquisition preference afforded to SBIR firms by law. GAO ruled, however, that the agency was not required to apply the preference in this case because it was not seeking to acquire the protester’s specific software.

GAO concluded that the agency had the discretion to award this work to the protester as a sole-source Phase III contract. But the agency was not required to enter into negotiations with the protester because other firms could meet the agency’s requirement in a competitive acquisition.

This decision will likely make it more difficult for SBIR firms to leverage the Phase III preference.

Listen to the full podcast episode here to learn more about GAO’s decision and its implications. Stephen and Nick also talk about a new Phase III vehicle GSA is working on to help companies sell their SBIR-derived products/services to government agencies.

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