The General Services Administration is on the brink of announcing awards for the Polaris small business contract vehicle, which will replace the Alliant 2 Small Business. This new contract will feature pools of winners in various small business categories and will be used by government agencies to purchase IT solutions and services across a range of performance areas, including cloud, cyber, data management, and information technology.
The solicitation for the Polaris contract was released in early 2021, but pre-award protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) delayed the process. In response to these protests, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered GSA to amend the solicitation and allow bidders to resubmit their proposals.
On the eve of the new proposal deadline, two companies filed protests with GAO again, alleging that GSA was not allowing them to update their past performance and experience information and that GSA’s position favored mentor-protégé firms. However, GAO rejected these protests and sided with GSA, paving the way for hundreds of awards for Polaris. The contract has no ceiling and can also be used to procure software development and IT operations and maintenance.
Despite GAO’s decision, there is still a risk of protests against the final awards. Nonetheless, this new contract vehicle is expected to provide significant benefits to small businesses in various industries by providing them with greater access to government contracts and opportunities for growth and expansion.