SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced the meeting of the small-business contracting goal on Aug. 1. (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images)
Agencies met overall goals for small business contracting for the first time in eight years, but still fell short on spending through women-owned and HUBZone small businesses, according to numbers released by the Small Business Administration.
The government met its 23 percent small business contracting for fiscal 2013. Its $83 billion worth of small-business contracts equalled about 23.4 percent of the $335 billion in eligible contracting dollars.
The government also exceeded 5 percent goal for disadvantaged small businesses, which accounted for 8.6 percent of contracting dollars. And it exceeded its 3 percent service-disabled veteran-owned contracting goals, with 3.4 percent of contracting dollars.
But the government fell short on its 5 percent goal for women-owned small businesses, reaching only 4.3 percent of contract spending. It also failed to meet its HUBZone goal of 3 percent of contracting dollars with just 1.8 percent.
The SBA rated overall governmentwide performance as an ‘A’, an improvement over the last four years of ‘B’ grades.
Individual agencies had more mixed results, with some such as the Treasury Department meeting its goals in every category, while the Veterans Affairs Department feel short in its women-owned and HUBZone small business contracting goals.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said in a statement the administration has made great progress in working to include small businesses in government procurement, and that she will work with the administration to meet the goal for women-owned small businesses.
“This is a significant step forward to increase opportunity for America's innovative small businesses to help solve our nation's challenges and create jobs," Cantwell said.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said the administration deserves credit for meeting the small business goals despite budget cuts and general financial dissarray.
“We’ve been fighting hard to reach the 23 percent goal,” Cardin said. “It came despite the meat-cleaver cuts of sequestration and the self-inflicted wound of a government shutdown.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, said meeting the goal was a “team effort” among agencies and the administration will keep pushing to meet all of its small business goals.
“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,” Contreras-Sweet said.