The government's in the red

The government often earns a failing grade for small-business contracting

When it comes to awarding contracts to small businesses, the government struggles to reach any of the annual goals it strives for. The Small Business Administration’s most recent small-business procurement score card for fiscal 2008 shows that the government achieved only one of its contracting goals last year: It spent 6.76 percent of its prime-contract dollars with small, disadvantaged businesses, topping the goal of 5 percent.

However, the government fell short of its goals in the other categories and the overall goal of 23 percent of total contract spending. Even though agencies spent $93.3 billion with small companies — an increase of nearly $10 billion since 2007 — that dollar amount represented only 21.5 percent of total contract spending. And that overall percentage was down by nearly a percentage point from the previous year.

Seven of the 24 agencies that SBA tracks failed to reach more than one goal, while two of them — the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Agency for International Development — missed all of the goals. The General Services Administration was the only agency to achieve all the goals.

SBA rates the agencies with a green, yellow or red score based on the contracts they awarded to small businesses overall and specifically to small, disadvantaged businesses; small businesses in Historically Underutilized Business Zones; woman-owned small businesses; and businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Mon, Oct 12, 2009 Randy Drake New York

We are a samll minority business trying to survive in this ecomomy. How would we go about getting ivolved with SBA?Randy Drake DRAKE COMM PRODUCTS 33 Comac Loop Ronkonkoma, NY. 11779 Certified WBE

Tue, Sep 22, 2009 DOD

These "goals" are one of the main reasons the Government is so inefficient. As an engineer trying to get facilities built or repaired, when these goals are imposed on our Contracting group, we end up spending a lot more time and money to meet some goal with the end result often being an inferior product as well. Add to that all these other bureaucrats time (and money) spent on counting well the goals were met.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group