Agencies Meet Small Business Contract Goals

Eight receive an A+ procurement rating, the Small Business Administration says.

Agencies fulfilling their obligations for awarding contracts to small businesses broke a record with $120 billion in awards in fiscal 2018, the Small Business Administration announced on Tuesday.

Governmentwide for the sixth straight year, agencies met their goal of 25% for qualified small-business procurements, though fell short in the subgroups of women-owned businesses and Historically Underutilized Business Zones, or HUBZones.

The overall government rating was an A, and eight agencies received an A+ on the annual scorecard, SBA said. The $120 billion total marked an increase of $15 billion over last year.

“Through these businesses, we strengthen the economy, and support the American workforce in the process,” said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “The federal prime and subcontract awarded to small businesses in fiscal 2018 equate to more than one million jobs created. Every contract that gets in the hands of a small business is a win-win for our nation, the entrepreneurs, their employees and the communities they support all across the country.”

In prime contracting among subgroup designated for set-asides, agencies exceeded goals for service-disabled veteran-owned small business and small disadvantaged business, while contract dollar awards rose in all categories, SBA said. But the effort fell short of goals in the categories of women-owned businesses and HUBZones.

In subcontracting, the federal government also exceeded its subcontract goals for awards to small businesses and women-owned small businesses, and awarded more than $79 billion in subcontracts.

As for methodology, SBA explained that while each federal agency is responsible for ensuring the quality of its own contracting data, SBA conducts additional analyses to help agencies identify potential data anomalies.

As a sign that agencies value the scorecard, the Homeland Security Department on Wednesday put out a statement noting that for the 10th year in a row, it earned an A grade: “DHS has been the largest agency to consistently earn a grade of an ‘A’ or higher on SBA’s scorecard,” it said. “This achievement confirms the department’s commitment to working with small businesses to help keep our nation safe.”

Gloria Larkin, president of the contractorTargetGov who is also procurement advisor to American Express on educating women contractors, told Government Executive: “While I celebrate the fact that women-owned businesses received $22.9 billion in prime contract awards, it is still under the five percent goal, at 4.75%. The Women Owned Small Business Program has multiple challenges in reaching that goal,” she added, citing the spotty awareness of the program among some acquisition personnel and contract offerings do not appear in agency solicitations for all industry classification codes.