Agencies Largely Maintain Small-Business Contracting Scores

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said: “It is a win-win for federal agencies to get small business contracts into the hands of the innovative small business owners that create jobs in their communities and help to fuel the nation’s economy." SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said: “It is a win-win for federal agencies to get small business contracts into the hands of the innovative small business owners that create jobs in their communities and help to fuel the nation’s economy." Andrew Harnik/AP

Under the new leadership of Trump appointee Linda McMahon, the Small Business Administration last week released its annual scorecard on federal agencies’ small business contracting, proclaiming that the government overall met its mandatory goals for the fourth year running.

The average agency award rate of 24.34 percent of contracting dollars in fiscal 2016 going to qualified small businesses totaled $99.96 billion, a bump-up of $9 billion over fiscal 2015, SBA reported. While all the goals were met, the percentages of money going to small firms were slightly lower than those of fiscal 2015.

Prime contracting dollars rose in all set-aside categories, and the government exceeded the Small Disadvantaged Business goal and had its highest achievement ever for percentage of contract dollars awarded to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small businesses.

“It is a win-win for federal agencies to get small business contracts into the hands of the innovative small business owners that create jobs in their communities and help to fuel the nation’s economy,” McMahon said.

The agencies exceeded their subcontract goals for awards in most categories, though the awards to women-owned contractors dropped slightly and fell below the goal of 5 percent. 

Four agencies received a B grade on the score card: the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Health and Human Services Department, NASA and the Veterans Affairs Department. Only one agency received a C -- the Education Department -- and the rest received As.  

The slight dip on awards to women-owned businesses didn’t faze small-business owner Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting. “Since the creation of the Women-Owned Small Business set-aside program in 2011 and ongoing improvements to the program as recent as last year, WOSBs are beginning to realize the growth potential in government contracting,” she said in a statement to Government Executive.  “Although the 5 percent procurement goal was just missed, there was still over $19 billion in contracts awarded to WOSBs.”

An American Express survey, she added, found that women contractors in recent years have invested increasingly less in pursuing contract opportunities, and she urged them to grab the opportunity.

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