The General Services Administration says it is sending an increasing percentage of its contract dollars to small businesses.
Awards to small firms rose from 32 percent in fiscal 2006 to 34 percent in fiscal 2007, the agency stated. Both rates exceeded the congressionally mandated goal of 23 percent.
The agency also announced that it boosted contracting with small disadvantaged, woman-owned, HUBZone and service disabled veteran-owned businesses. It beat congressionally mandated targets in three of those socioeconomic subcategories as well; service disabled veteran-owned businesses were the exception.
Preliminary numbers for fiscal 2008 show the agency is on track to exceed congressional goals in all four subcategories, agency officials said.
“I am very proud of GSA’s efforts to help small businesses succeed,” acting Administrator Jim Williams said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need these companies … to help our nation remain prosperous. We increase our contracts with small businesses every year, and I expect this trend to continue.”
GSA also touted its role in administering governmentwide contract vehicles that promote small businesses. The agency noted that in fiscal 2007, more than 37 percent of all prime contract dollars, or $13.4 billion, went to small businesses via orders off the GSA schedules, which are catalogs of pre-negotiated contracts.
But some small business advocates are reluctant to pat GSA on the back for its efforts. Lloyd Chapman, president of the American Small Business League, called the agency’s numbers “completely fabricated.” Chapman has long accused agencies of counting awards to large companies toward small business goals, citing reports by the Small Business Administration and Interior Department inspectors general showing that agencies included large, well-known corporations in small business contracting data, and other investigations.
Chapman said his group will file a Freedom of Information Act request with GSA for the names of all firms represented in its small business contracting data.
Governmentwide data on fiscal 2007 small business contracting is still pending. A spokesman said SBA has tentative plans to release the numbers on Friday.
By Elizabeth Newell, firstname.lastname@example.org