Small businesses got a smaller share of federal contracting dollars last year, the Small Business Administration announced Tuesday.
The federal government awarded nearly $92 billion in contracts to small businesses in fiscal 2011, or 21.7 percent of eligible contract dollars. That is down from the previous year when agencies spent nearly $98 billion on small businesses, or 22.7 percent of eligible contract dollars.
Agencies are required by law to award a combined 23 percent of federal contracting dollars to small businesses.
The SBA said in a release that the news “reflects the need for improvement in small business procurement across the federal government.”
“Over the last year, SBA has increased its efforts and collaboration with our federal agency partners to provide more opportunities for small business to compete for and win federal contracts, but we know more must be done to ensure that more contracts get into the hands of small businesses.”
SBA said in the release that it is taking steps to help the government meet the 23 percent goal, including:
Collaborating with the White House and senior officials to ensure top-level leadership commitment to utilize small businesses.
Training prospective and existing small businesses on skills needed to compete for and win federal contracts.
Conducting outreach events nationwide to connect small businesses with federal agencies.
Members of both the House and Senate have been pushing to increase the small-business goal from 23 percent to 25 percent to direct more federal contracts to small businesses. Increasing the contracting goal to 25 percent would add approximately $11 billion in new opportunities for small-business contractors, lawmakers have said.