Input: Most cabinet departments meet small-biz goals

Ten of the 15 cabinet-level departments met their small-business contracting goals in fiscal 2004, according to a report released today by Input, a market research firm.

Of the 10, four departments surpassed their goals by 25 percent or more. They were the Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Homeland Security and State departments, according to Input.

The five departments that missed their goals were the Interior, Transportation, Defense, Education and Energy departments.

Input analysts looked at prime contracts. Small-business targets have been controversial because data regarding small-business contracting may not be reliable. One recent analysis suggested that Federal Procurement Data System information, as reported by the Small Business Administration, omitted some major contracts that would have significantly reduced the percentage of dollars awarded to small businesses.

Other controversies arise from the definition of small business and the length of time businesses may continue to collect small-business revenue after outgrowing the classification.

"Frankly, we haven't found a lot of consistency in the reasons why some departments have been successful in meeting their goals and others have not," said Jennifer Geurin, senior analyst of federal profiles at Input. "Some departments have been successful in tapping small businesses holding [General Services Administration] schedules to achieve their goals. Others have relied on active outreach programs to educate their internal buyers by putting them in front of qualified small businesses."

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