SBA Releases Scorecard Showing Significant Progress in Federal Contracting Goal





Washington (PRESS RELEASE – June 30, 2011) – The federal government awarded nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, showing an increase in federal prime contract dollars to small businesses for the second straight year after four years of decline.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced recently that in FY 2010 (Oct. 1, 2009 – Sept. 30, 2010), small businesses won a record $97.95 billion in federal contracts, or 22.7 percent of eligible contracting dollars.  This marks the largest single year increase in more than five years, and is a significant improvement over FY 2009, when 21.9 percent of contracting dollars were awarded to small businesses.

Performance in four out of five of the small business prime contracting categories showed marked improvement, with increases in contract dollars and also in performance against statutory goals.  Over the past year, SBA has increased its efforts and collaboration with federal agencies to provide increased opportunities for small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.

“When the federal government gets contracts into the hands of small businesses, it is a ‘win-win’ situation: small businesses have the opportunity to grow and create jobs and the federal government gets access to some of the most innovative and nimble entrepreneurs,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.  “We are proud of the achievement the government has made in, but are determined that the government will meet and exceed the goal.  SBA is focused on a number of key initiatives to help increase small business contracting opportunities, as well as combat fraud, waste or abuse.  These efforts will ensure the benefits of our programs continue to go to the intended recipients.”

Additionally, the SBA released the FY 2010 Small Business Procurement Scorecards, which provides an assessment of each agency’s yearly small business contracting achievement against its goal with a grade A through F.  Ten agencies’ grades increased from FY 2009, 10 agencies’ grades stayed the same and four agencies’ grades decreased.  The agency breakdown is as follows:

  • 13 agencies received an “A”
  • 5 agencies received a “B”
  • 4 agencies received a “C”
  • 2 agencies received a “D”

The federal government received a “B” on the government-wide Scorecard, just less than one point short of an “A”.  This grade reflects significant efforts by federal agencies toward meeting the 23 percent statutory goal, but indicates the need for continued improvement.

The FY 2010 Goaling Report and Scorecards also reflect efforts to strengthen the integrity of the contracting data and more thoroughly address errors.  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 part of its ongoing data quality efforts, the SBA is working with federal agency procurement staff to provide tools to facilitate review of data, implement improvements to procurement systems and conduct training to improve accuracy.

Over the past year, SBA has been focused on a number of initiatives to help the government meet the 23 percent goal, ensure the accuracy of data and prevent waste, fraud or abuse, including:

  • Implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 – The Act included 19 provisions related to increasing opportunities for small business contracting and minimizing fraud, waste or abuse in the programs.  One of the key provisions is related to work force training to ensure that the procurement work force receives adequate training on small business programs.
  • Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses – The President established a Task Force to identify recommendations to increase opportunities for small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.  The Task Force developed 13 recommendations, which SBA is in the process of implementing.
  • Collaboration with White House and Senior Agency officials – SBA is collaborating with the White House to ensure senior officials at each agency are aware of their role in meeting the government-wide small business contracting goal and holding them accountable to the goals.
  • Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program – This new program will allow contracting officers to set-aside contracts for women-owned small businesses for the first time in fiscal year 2011.
  • Revised 8(a) Business Development Regulations – SBA recently published new regulations for this program for the first time in over a decade.  These revisions will help ensure the benefits of the 8(a) program go to the intended recipients.  SBA is in the process of implementing these revisions.

About the Scorecard

The annual Scorecard is an assessment tool to (1) measure how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals, (2) provide accurate and transparent contracting data and (3) report agency-specific progress.  The prime and subcontracting component goals include goals for small businesses, small businesses owned by women, small disadvantaged businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones).

Every two years, the SBA works with each agency to set their prime and subcontracting goals and their grades are based on the agreed upon goals.  Each federal agency has a different small business contracting goal, determined annually in consultation with SBA.  SBA ensures that the sum total of all of the goals exceeds the 23 percent target established by law.

Each agency’s overall grade will show an A+ for agencies that meet or exceed 120 percent of their goals, an A for those between 100 percent and 119 percent, a B for 90 to 99 percent, a C for 80 to 89 percent, a D for 70 to 79 percent and an F for less than 70 percent. An agency’s overall grade was comprised of three quantitative measures: prime contracts (80 percent), subcontracts (10 percent) and its progress plan for meeting goals (10 percent).

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  1. Once again we have a non-report here full of non-news, simply because the definition of “small” the SBA uses is so broad that it is meaningless and allows them to make claims that are nothing short of wildly misleading.

    99.94% of all businesses have fewer than 500 employees. It’s exactly the same as saying everyone under 7′ tall is short. So when the SBA says “The federal government awarded nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses”, it is as meaningless and absurd as saying “The federal government awarded nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to people under 7′ tall.

    How is that anything to celebrate?

    The SBA and politicians love this meaningless non-definition because it allows them to make statements like the following without being challenged by journalists. Karen Mills said:

    “When the federal government gets contracts into the hands of small businesses, it is a ‘win-win’ situation: small businesses have the opportunity to grow and create jobs.”

    But if we use the 7′ tall analogy, we see the absurdity of this statement:

    “When the federal government gets contracts into the hands of people under 7′ tall, it is a ‘win-win’ situation: people under 7′ tall have the opportunity to grow and create jobs.”

    The SBA has the gall to call this a “Scorecard”, but a scorecard would actually score some meaningful range of data. Scoring the distribution of anything to people under 7′ tall is a meaningless non-scorecard. But journalists just report this without doing the due diligence of challenging such absurd statements.

    Why is it critical to get Karen Mills and the SBA to stop using such a meaningless definition of “small”? Because the SBA itself claims the #1 sector for job growth are businesses with 0-9 employees and the #2 sector is businesses with 10-19 employees. So if they want to help SMALL businesses and restart the economy, they need to be more specific about their data. What percentage of federal contracts are going to TRUE small businesses between 0-19 employees, and how much of it is going to large companies with 100-500 employees? If they broke down the data this way, Mills and SBA would likely have nothing to trumpet, and their continuing support of large businesses to the detriment of true small businesses would be exposed.

    The European Union defines small as under 10 employees – it is the largest economy in the world and reports as a single entity to the WTO. We should follow suit so we can actually measure something meaningful. Until then, journalists should simply refuse to report such meaningless data as “everyone under 7′ tall.” Until they start challenging Mills and the SBA, they’ll just keep making these absurd statements.

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