Doing Business with Small Business
on April 26, 2010 at 03:05 PM EDT
Today, the President signed a memorandum outlining steps that will expand opportunities for small businesses to conduct business with the federal government. Small businesses are an important engine of job growth throughout the economy. That is why to boost economic growth and foster job creation, the Administration has undertaken already a number of initiatives – including through the Recovery Act – to boost small business lending and hiring.
The Federal Government itself is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, with purchases totaling over $500 billion per year. Unfortunately, the big contractors – often helped by big lobbying firms – tend to get the government’s business. The President’s memorandum today includes several actions to help small businesses seize the opportunities offered by the government's own purchases.
First, the memorandum establishes an Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Business, co-chaired by myself, the SBA Administrator, and the Secretary of Commerce. Agencies will be required to take a number of steps to improve transparency in Federal contracting data and expand outreach to small businesses, with a particular focus on small businesses owned by women, minorities, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and service-disabled veterans.
The Task Force would be required within 120 days to provide the President a report containing recommendations for achieving progress towards the Small Business Act’s contracting goals. These recommendations would examine the potential value of mentorship programs, expanded outreach, regulatory changes, and new acquisition strategies, among other policy options. As part of this process, the Task Force would be required to conduct outreach to representatives of small businesses and small business associations.
Finally, the memorandum directs Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, to coordinate with the Task Force and within 90 days develop an online "dashboard" that tracks Federal Government small business procurement data. This dashboard would encourage the improved collection, verification, and transparency of Federal procurement information.
I am hopeful that today’s memorandum will help provide more opportunities for small businesses to expand and grow.