On Thursday December 2, 2021, Small businesses considering entering and already in the federal market got an early Christmas present from the Biden Administration.
There has arguably never been a better time to become a federal government contractor. On Thursday December 2, The Biden Administration revealed several reforms intended to increase federal spending transparency and the number of federal contracts going to small and underserved businesses. The move gives the Small Business Administration (SBA) more oversight of federal buying strategies in a bid to give small businesses a louder voice in federal procurement. According to a factsheet published about the reforms,
“less than 10 percent of federal agencies’ total eligible contracting dollars typically go to small-disadvantaged businesses (SDB), a category under federal law for which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify. Moreover, while women own roughly 20 percent of all small businesses economy-wide, less than 5 percent of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses.”
To level the playing field for underserved communities and businesses, the White House intends to direct $100 Billion in federal contracting opportunities to Small Disadvantaged Businesses and increase the share of contracts awarded to small-disadvantaged businesses to 15% by 2025. This is consistent with the President’s Day One Executive Order (EO) 13985 which directed agencies to make procurement and contracting opportunities available for all eligible vendors and remove barriers to small and disadvantaged businesses.
In a first step towards meeting that ambitious goal the Biden Administration asked agencies to increase their goals such that government wide spending results in 11 percent of contracting dollars being awarded to small-disadvantaged businesses in FY 2022, a goal that is a little more than double the current small business spending goals of 5 percent.
In response to a recent GAO report that revealed small businesses in the federal market have decreased by sixty percent over the past decade the Administration has tasked agencies with benchmarking the inclusion of new entrants in the federal marketplace and developing strategies for diversifying the supply base. The administration intends to hold Senior Executive Service (SES) managers accountable for meeting small business goals by including progress towards achievement as a performance evaluation factor.
In addition, the reforms call for creating direct lines of access to senior leadership for Federal Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSBDUs), which play an important role in increasing contracting spend with small businesses.
It should also be noted that the Government is paying increasing attention to the outcomes of a process that enables agencies to buy as an organized entity rather than thousands of individual buyers. An analysis of “Category Management” spending since 2017 revealed that socioeconomic firms received a disproportionately lower share of contracts under the “Category Management” effort. As a result, the Biden Administration revised guidance for using “Category Management” to help federal agencies conduct more equitable buying practices.
If you’re wondering about how this move impacts the other small business designations including woman-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran owned small businesses, and HUBZone businesses, spending goals for those categories will also be updated over the course of the next year.
To the small businesses that make up most of the American economy these announcements are the Administration’s warm holiday wishes for a prosperous new year.
Fact Sheet: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/12/02/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-reforms-to-increase-equity-and-level-the-playing-field-for-underserved-small-business-owners/