The Federal Government recently announced that it met its annual government contracting goal for small business. The government contracting goals are measured as a percentage of overall government contracts awarded. The Federal Government mandates 23 percent to be awarded of all prime contracts to small businesses and for Fiscal Year 2013, the government awarded 23.9 percent.
USDA has consistently met or exceeded its small business goal and received another “A” for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. In fact, USDA awarded 54.16 percent of eligible contracts to small businesses, exceeding the 53.5 percent goal provided the Department by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Obama Administration has a strong commitment to small businesses. The President recently shared during National Small Business Week, “Our small businesses represent what is best about America – that with hard work and ingenuity, anyone – no matter their background – can build a better future for themselves and their families.”
It is critical to understand that the Small Business Administration’s prime and subcontracting component goals include goals for overall small businesses, women-owned small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB Zones). This is just one of the many reasons why USDA has had a long-standing commitment to diversity in its business activities, implemented primarily through the small business program effort and the commitment of our 11 buying agencies. Additionally, the Department’s focus on small business contracting has also helped meet Federal contractor diversity goals.
Specifically, in FY13 USDA achieved the following results:
Small Business: 54.88 percent ($2.8 Billion)
Women Owned Small Business 8.32 percent ($430.5 million)
Small Disadvantaged Business 12.73 percent ($658.6 million)
Service-Disabled Veteran Owned 2.76 percent ($142.8 million)
HUB Zone 3.85 percent ($199.1 million)
The USDA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will continue to provide leadership to the buying agencies, as well as technical assistance to small businesses. While we’ve been successful, we continue to encourage firms that provide products within the diverse categories of contracts awarded by USDA to market their capabilities. We will continue to expand upon our efforts to target women and minority-owned businesses and educate them on the opportunities to do business with the Department. Secretary Vilsack, as well as the Under Secretaries and Administrators, take achieving the Department’s goals seriously and committed to small businesses as they create jobs and strengthen our economy.
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As a small business, I applaud the USDA's reaching it's goal of awarding 53.5+% of contracts to small businesses but speaking from the consumer's (as well as the taxpayer's) point of view, I would be more concerned with having contracts awarded to the most competent businesses out there whether they be small, medium or large.