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.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.