Agency focus key to small business goals

Agencies with a more administrative focus tend to have higher small business goals while more technically focused agencies tend toward lower small business goals, according to a Deltek analysis.

As you analyze agencies with high small business goals and those with lower goals a distinct pattern emerges, according to Deneice Peterson, director of federal industry analysis for Deltek.

She was speaking as part of the ACQUIRE Show last week. She discussed why certain departments met their small business contracting goals in the 2015 fiscal year and why some fell behind.

The achievements were calculated by the Small Business Administration based on the percentage of eligible dollars dedicated to small business contracting, and the goals “varied widely by agency,” Peterson said.

“We see this kind of split where the agencies with the highest goals tend to be more administratively focused, whereas some of them with the lower goals generally are more technically focused,” she said.

The Education Department most successfully exceeded its goal, with an achievement 8.5 percentage points higher than its goal of 20 percent, while the Agriculture Department missed the mark by the widest margin, landing 3.1 percentage points below its goal of 53 percent.

“That makes sense, because the more technically focused agencies, their requirements are going to be a little more complex,” Peterson said. “Sometimes maybe the work isn’t appropriate for small business or it takes longer to get through the contracting process.”

The departments that met or surpassed their goals include Education, Transportation, Commerce, State, Defense, Interior, Justice, DHS, NASA and HHS; while Treasury, Energy, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture fell short.

On the bright side, since 2011, small business contracting overall has steadily increased, Peterson said. The 2015 fiscal year marked the third year in a row that the percentage of small business contracting surpassed the government-wide goal of 23 percent.

“The past couple of years there has been a lot of celebration that they finally hit their targets for the most part,” she said.