Recently the SBA issued their annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard that let’s us know how federal agencies performed as measured against their small business contracting goals. They focused attention on the impressive growth in the actual dollars spent with small businesses over the prior year, but they’ve received some blowback from several organizations and critics from the small business community for missing the overall goal of 23%.
The National Association of Small Business Contractors (NASBC), which represents over 300,000 small businesses, recently went to bat for it’s members and small government contractors. They pointed out that while the 21.5% that was awarded to small businesses doesn’t appear to deserve a failing grade, it actually represents over $30 billion worth of business that would have gone to their constituents if the goal had been met. They stress that small businesses are suffering far worse than large businesses during this recession and that the federal government can provide badly needed sales to small businesses by not only meeting their commitments, but by exceeding them.
Of the many changes the NASBC is proposing we believe the two most potent changes are likely to be, 1) penalyzing agencies that fall short of their requirement and 2) enforcing fines on large contractors that misrepresent themselves as being “small” or minority-owned businesses. Both are a result of individuals in the supply chain looking the other way when they know the intent of the law is being violated. Penalties might help them become more “diligent” in their contracting process.