Small biz goals fall short

Despite improvements for prime work, gap widens for subcontract

The Small Business Administration reported that the federal government again missed the mark for small business contracting during fiscal 2012, but the gap has narrowed for primes.

Overall, $89.9 billion in government contracts went to small businesses last year, that’s 22.25 percent of all contracts, according to the SBA report. The goal for small businesses is 23 percent. In fiscal 2011, 21.65 percent of contracts went to small businesses.

There also are goals for various sub-categories of small businesses:

  • Women-owned: 4 percent or $16.2 billion (goal 4 percent)
  • Small disadvantaged: 8 percent or $32.3 billion (goal 5 percent)
  • Service disabled, veteran-owned: 3.03 percent or $12.3 billion (goal 3 percent)
  • HUBZone: 2.01 percent or $8.1 billion (goal 3 percent)

The annual SBA report also tracks small business contracting goals. The gap between goal and achievement is greater there.

Overall, 33.6 percent of subcontracts went to small businesses, with the goal being 36 percent; however, women-owned small businesses surpassed their 5 percent goal with 5.6 percent achieved. Small disadvantaged businesses also were over their 5 percent goal with 5.1 percent.

But service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses fell short with 1.8 percent versus a goal of 3 percent, as did HUBZone, which had 1.3 percent of subcontracts against a goal of 3 percent.

SBA’s annual release of its small business goals isn’t without critics. The American Small Business League criticized the report saying it was “completely false and totally unsupported by the facts.”

The group claims that SBA miscalculated the actual federal acquisition budget, and according to ASBL, small businesses only received 8.2 percent of prime contracts.

In addition, the group claims that a significant number of large businesses are receiving small business contracts.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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