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Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Admin Seeks to Increase Access to Contracting: Opportunities for Minority-Owned, Small Businesses

The Obama Administration reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that minority-owned and small businesses, including women- and veteran-owned businesses, have greater access to federal government contracting opportunities. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, left, and Small Business Administrator (SBA) Karen Mills, right, announced a government-wide plan that includes federal agency procurement officials holding or participating in more than 200 events over the next 90 days to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Federal Government is seeking to meet or exceed the goal of 23 percent of prime contracts for small businesses.

According to an SBA report cited by The Wall Street Journal (8/21/09), federal agencies awarded 21.5% of their contracts worth just over $93 billion to small businesses in fiscal 2008, which ran from Oct. 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2008, falling short of its 23% goal set by law. The federal agencies awarded 6.8% of their contracts to small "disadvantaged" businesses exceeding the 5% target, and up from 6.6% during the previous fiscal year. Over the past 40 years, minority-owned businesses have grown from 300,000 to nearly 4 million today.

As part of the Commerce-SBA initiative, over the next 90 days:

* Federal agency procurement officials will hold or participate in more than 200 events to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

* SBA and Commerce will expand their outreach to fellow contracting officials across the federal government, passing along best practices for outreach and education to every agency to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their annual contracting goals.

* Locke and Mills will promote small business contracting opportunities in remarks, events and discussions with small business groups across the country, including minority, women and veteran groups.


Beyond the next 90 days, Commerce and SBA will support, monitor and track the impact of these efforts going forward to help ensure the Administration is maximizing opportunities for small businesses.

Small business owners can find out about federal contracting opportunities by visiting http://www.fedbizopps.gov/. Local Commerce and SBA officials are also available in local offices across the country to assist small businesses interested in contracting opportunities. Contact information for local offices can be found www.commerce.gov and http://www.sba.gov/.

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