It's long been a wonder why small minority and disadvantaged businesses don't get more federal contracts than they do. But a recent report from the Small Business Administration shows they, and small businesses in general, are making up some of the lost ground.
In 2013, the U.S. met its small business spending goal for the first time in eight years.
The SBA on Friday released its small business scorecard for fiscal year 2013, an annual report card on how the government is (and often isn't) meeting its stated goals for contract spending with small businesses. That temperature check also factors in the state of spending among minority-and women-owned firms, as well as small, economically disadvantaged businesses.
In total, small businesses exceeded the federal goal of 23 percent of prime contracts by just 0.39 percent. Still, that's real progress. The 2013 tally amounts to an increase of more than a full percentage point compared to 2012. The 2013 total is worth $83 billion of all federal contracting dollars.
By category, the government's track record last year was more mixed. Women-owned businesses, which have traditionally lagged in goals set for contracting dollars, notched 4.32 percent, worth $15 billion in procurements, out of a stated goal of 5 percent. Despite missing the mark, spending among women-owned firms logged a sizable increase over 2012, when such businesses garnered 4 percent of small business contracts.
By contrast, disadvantaged businesses--or companies with at least 51 percent ownership by individuals deemed to be at a socio-economic disadvantage--surpassed a contracting goal of 5 percent by garnering 8.61 percent of federal contracting dollars for small business owners, worth $31 billion, beating last year's total of 8 percent.
Businesses owned by service disabled veterans grabbed 3.38 percent of contracts, worth $12 billion, also surpassing a benchmark of 3 percent, and exceeding 2012 when such businesses qualified for 3.03 percent of federal procurements.
Faring the worst, HUB Zone businesses, in underutilized business zones, scored 1.76% of contracts worth $6 billion, a decrease of nearly a quarter of a percent from 2012, and nearly half of the stated goal of 3 percent.
Small businesses were eligible for $357 billion worth of federal contracts, according to the Small Business Dashboard, a goverment data site.
“When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win. Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows,” SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in prepared remarks during a press conference at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Friday. “Thanks to the President’s leadership and a team effort among all federal agencies, we were able to meet this goal.”