Puerto Rico GSA waives bidder registration fee for micro-enterprises
Puerto Rico’s General Services Administration has waived the registration fee for the Single Registry of Bidders (RUL, in Spanish) for six months for local micro-enterprises to encourage them to sell their products and services to the island’s executive branch, municipalities and public corporations.
GSA Administrator Karla Mercado explained that registration in the RUL allows companies with up to seven employees and gross annual incomes of less than $500,000 to participate in bids and compete with similar companies for government business.
“To incentivize micro-enterprises, we have exempted them from the payment of the first registration fee in the RUL, which is $450, until May 30,” said Mercado, who is also the government’s chief procurement officer.
“Public agencies have the need to acquire products from smaller-scale businesses in specific categories and regions across the island,” Mercado added. “However, many small businesses are unaware of the opportunities available to them. Therefore, and recognizing the crucial role they play in the island’s economy, we are facilitating the entry of micro-enterprises into the bidders’ registry.”
She noted that the Government Procurement Reservations Act sets aside a portion of the government’s procurement budget for micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Contrary to what happened in the past, the GSA is focused on ensuring that payments are made more quickly,” she said.
The official assured that the GSA has streamlined its internal procedures and expanded access to documents and procedures through its website. GSA personnel are available to guide small-business owners through the steps to become government suppliers.
Examples of products that micro-enterprises could supply to the government include sports equipment, hardware or office materials, labor such as plumbing or electrical work, art or crafts, and catering services, among other products or professional services.
“One of the reasons for the existence of GSA is to foster the development of local entrepreneurs while expanding the base of government suppliers in search of more competitive prices and quality products and services,” Mercado said. “Support for micro-enterprises not only fulfills these objectives but also fosters job creation and local investment. In the balance of public interest, purchases from micro-enterprises have significant value due to their impact on the economy of Puerto Rico.”