Is it time to reform small-business programs?
A pair of Government Accountability Office decisions have me wondering if the proliferation of small business programs is catching up with the government market, and in a bad way.
Over the last 10 years a number of small business programs have been created, such as the historically underutilized business zone (HUBzone) and the service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses. Contracting goals have been set for these and other progams.The HUBzone and service-disabled programs recently squared off against each other
when protests were filed over the Marine Corps' decision to give contracting priority to service-disabled businesses. GAO ruled that HUBzones should be given priority over all other small-business programs, according to the HUBZone Contractors National Council.
Good for HUBZone businesses, but aren't we headed down a slippery slope?
Smarter minds should comment on this, but I'm left wondering if we are headed toward internecine warfare among small businesses. If each group is jealously fighting for its own slice of the small business pie, I think the overarching goal of creating viable, healthy and productive small businesses is at risk.
I know some will say we should get rid of all the small business set-aside programs all together. That's not a solution. But I'm starting to think serious reform is needed.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 21, 2008 at 9:54 AM