Agencies push small-biz outreach efforts

Officials want to show small businesses the way to the federal marketplace

Obama administration officials will step up their outreach to small-business owners and show them the way to federal contracting, according to a recent announcement.

Officials from the Small Business Administration and the Commerce Department plan to take part in more than 200 events by mid-October. They want to talk about government contracting opportunities, especially related to the $787 billion in the economic stimulus law.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke intend to promote small business contracting in remarks, events and discussions with small-business groups, including minority, women and veteran groups, the agencies said Aug. 18.

As for agencies who do the contracting, SBA and Commerce plan to talk to contracting officials about the best ways to reach small businesses. They want to give agencies better ways to meet their annual contracting goals, officials said.

The government has an annual goal of spending 23 percent of its contracting dollars with small businesses, and each agency has specific percentage contracting goals to spend with different types of small companies, such as businesses owned by minorities or women. Few agencies reach all of their annual goals and the government as a whole has trouble reaching the 23 percent goal.

“Government contracts can play a key role in helping small businesses turn the corner in terms of expansion and job creation,” Mills said in a statement.

President Barack Obama said in the announcement that small and minority-owned businesses can help restore economic growth because they employ half of the nation’s private-sector workforce and continually create new jobs. They also introduce many groundbreaking ideas into the marketplace, he said.

“It is essential that we provide our nation’s small businesses with maximum practicable opportunity to participate in federal government contracting,” Obama said.

About the Author

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

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