Feds Fails to Meet Small-Biz Contracting Goal


Source: National Small Business Association
Related Topics: Government Agencies Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business

The U.S. government awarded 21.89 percent of federal contracting dollars to small businesses in Fiscal Year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 – Sept. 30, 2009), according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) fourth annual small business procurement scorecard.

While this represents a slight uptick from the previous year and translates into $96.8 billion in prime contracts, the federal government once again failed to achieve its goal of 23 percent of federal contracts being awarded to small businesses. According to the SBA, more than 31 percent of the contracting dollars awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went to small businesses, however.

In a statement, SBA Administrator Karen Mills acknowledged the need to improve: “Small businesses received a record $96.8 billion in federal contracts in 2009. There was an increase in both dollars and contracting share for every small business category. This represents real progress, but not enough, we must reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the 23 percent goal is met and exceeded.”

The SBA’s annual scorecard rates 24 federal agencies according to their success in meeting their overall small-business contracting goals, as well as their success in the following socioeconomic subcategories: small, disadvantaged firms; small businesses in HUBZones; women-owned small business; and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

This year, the SBA awarded the agencies letter grades—from A+ through F—rather than red, yellow, or green ratings. Agencies’ overall grades were comprised of three quantitative measures: prime contracts (80 percent), subcontracts (10 percent) and plans for meeting goals (10 percent).

To achieve an “A+” grade, an agency must have met or exceeded 120 percent of its small-business contracting goals. Agencies that achieved between 100 percent and 119 percent of their goals could receive an A. Agencies that realized 90 to 99 percent of their goals could receive B grades, and C grades could go to agencies that met 80 to 89 percent of their goals. Any agency that was able to muster only 70 to 79 percent of its small-business contracting goal could receive a D, and anything less than that was worthy of an F grade.

Agency grades ranged from A (for the SBA and nine other agencies) to F (for the Agency for International Development, National Science Foundation, and the Office of Personnel Management). Please click here to view individual agency grades.

Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses

Increasing small-business contracting has been a priority within the administration of President Barack Obama. To that end, Obama established this year an Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses. The Task Force was co-chaired by SBA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and included 12 other federal agencies.

The Task Force identified three objectives as key to improving the federal contracting opportunities for small firms: (1) Stronger regulations and guidance, (2) A better equipped, more informed and more accountable acquisition workforce, and (3) improved outreach and better use of technology and data.

Having identified these objectives, the Task Force outlined a series of 13 recommendations on how to achieve them. The Task Force will report the progress of the implementation of these recommendations to Obama by Dec. 30, 2010.

Please click here to view the executive summary of the Task Force’s report.

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