Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program

Small Business Reserve Program

Overview

Maryland is committed to the growth and success of our small business community. In 2004, the state created the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program, providing small businesses with the opportunity to participate as prime contractors on state contracts by establishing a unique marketplace where small businesses compete against other small businesses instead of larger, more established companies. 

Maryland is currently involved in a statewide procurement modernization effort to make the state contracting arena more transparent and user friendly to the small business community. As a result, several significate legislative changes took effect on October 1, 2017 that directly impact the SBR Program. 

Under state procurement law, the SBR Program directs 70 participating agencies/department (increased from 23) to spend at least 15% (increased from 10%) of its fiscal year procurement expenditures with qualified small businesses.  

See Md. Code Ann., State Fin. & Proc. Art. §14-501 - 14-505 (2011 Supp).

Once a solicitation has been designated as “SBR,” an award can only be made to a registered SBR vendor. Registration is an online process through eMaryland Marketplace (see the Quick Reference Guide for Certification and Re-Certification in the column to the right.). Vendors attest to meeting the eligibility standards and must re-certify annually. There is no cost to participate in the SBR Program.

This is a race- and gender-neutral program. Minority status is not a criteria for participation in the SBR Program. The small business eligibility standards for
for-profit businesses, other than a broker, participating in this program are:

  • The business is independently owned and operated
  • The business is not a subsidiary of another business
  • The business is not dominant in its field of operation
  • The wholesale operations of the business did not employ more than 50 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $4,000,000 in its most recently completed three fiscal years*
  • The retail operations of the business did not employ more than 25 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $3,000,000 in its most recently completed three fiscal years*
  • The manufacturing operations of the business did not employ more than 100 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $2,000,000 in its most recently completed three fiscal years*
  • The service operations of the business did not employ more than 100 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $10,000,000 in its more recently completed three fiscal years*
  • The construction operations of the business did not employ more than 50 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $7,000,000 in its most recently completed three fiscal years*
  • The architectural and engineering operations of the business did not employ more than 100 persons, or the gross sales of the business did not exceed an average of $4,500,000 in its most recently completed three fiscal years*
     

* If a business has not existed for three years, the gross sales average is computed for the period of the business's existence. For newly formed businesses the determination will be based upon employment levels

Each participating agency staffs an SBR Liaison whose role includes ensuring SBR participation is being maximized at the onset of the procurement process and acting as an advocate for SBR vendors actively working on contracts within that agency.

The SBR Program does not apply to procurements subject to existing preferences for State Use Industries, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, and sheltered workshops, or to procurements for which this program would represent a violation of federal law.​