GSA reaches all small-business contracting goals

GSA nearly tripled its 5 percent goal of contracting with small and disadvantaged businesses.

The General Services Administration was the only federal agency to meet all its small-business contracting goals last year, while eight agencies came close to that same mark, according to an annual contracting score card, released today.

According to the Small Business Administration’s third annual small business procurement score card, GSA nearly tripled its goal of sending 5 percent of the agency’s contracting dollars to small and disadvantaged businesses by reaching 14.48 percent. It also more than doubled its goals for contracting with small businesses in economically depressed areas, or historically underutilized business zones, by reaching 6.45 percent on its 3 percent goal.

“We’re proud of these accomplishments, as it is the first time GSA has exceeded all of the small-business goals,” Mary Parks, GSA's acting associate administrator of the Office of Small Business Utilization, said today. "Now our focus is on maintaining these great results and building on them for the future."

As a whole, the government missed its goal of awarding 23 percent of its contracting dollars to small businesses, reaching only 21.50 percent, according to SBA. Small businesses won a record $93.3 billion in federal prime contracts in fiscal 2008, an increase of nearly $10 billion from 2007, SBA said. Despite the $10 billion increase, the overall percentage slipped by a half a percentage point from 2007, according to the scorecard.

SBA rates 24 agencies with green, yellow or red scores based on how many of the five goals were met or surpassed. A green score means the agency met the goal, yellow means it came close, and red means the agency failed.

The annual scorecard looks at the overall small business goal, and the component contracting goals for:

  • Small, disadvantaged businesses.
  • Small businesses in HUBZones.
  • Woman-owned small businesses.
  • Service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

On the score card, eight agencies, commissions and departments  met or surpassed four of their five goals: the Homeland Security, Energy, Interior, Labor, Transportation,  and Agriculture departments;  the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and SBA.

Two agencies — the Office of Personnel Management and the Agency for International Development — failed all their goals, SBA found.

“Especially during these tough economic times, federal contracts for small businesses can be just the opportunity they need to continue to grow and create jobs,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

About the Author

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

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Reader comments

Mon, Aug 24, 2009 Raul Espinosa

Small business advocates wonder how GSA which illegally exclude small businesses (i.e., GSA Exemption) from the statutory set-aside provisions of the Small Business Act could have met or exceed their goals? Mmmm. Has the media reviewed the List of $3.1B in small business awards taken by 47 multi-billion dollar firms in FY08 and determine how many of those contracts were GSA or how many of their Schedule holders who claim they are ‘small,’ are not? I have known a few and have turned their names to GSA, but they did not seemed to care.

Federal Agencies have been known to unfairly take credit for small business contracts awarded to large businesses or to ‘fronts’ for large businesses, a fact the SBA IG acknowledged in the SBA OIG 5-15 Report. Regardless, the SBA Third Annual Scorecard is off, by at least $3.1B which FPA reported. This reduces the SBA figures to 20.7% and this amount does not even take into account billions in fraud and abuse that went uninvestigated and unreported.

There is an obvious dysfunctional bureaucratic culture that abuses the statutory rights of small and disadvantaged businesses and restricts their ability to compete and GSA - with all due respect to the new Acquisition Chief – has been a key culprit. My own minority-owned business has lost in excess of $3M in small business contracts due to alleged fraud and unfair procurement practices and there are thousands of other business-owners who like me, have also suffered worse examples.

The new GSA Acquisition Chief needs to realize that the sole reason their Schedules are lacking more small business participation is attributed to their own rules and regulations. We can point out, for example, how their legal agreements discriminate and discourage such small business participation, but first they have to be willing to listen and they have not.

The Umbrella Initiative whose goal is to double the number of small businesses which do business with the government by 2020 through the efforts of a new ‘Minority Procurement Center at UNF is and has always been willing to help GSA increase the number of small businesses on their Schedules.

Until such time they do, FCW could publish twelve simple recommendations offered which could make an immediate impact.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a difference,

Raul Espinosa
Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA)

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