Administration wants input on small business concerns

The Obama administration is seeking the public’s help in identifying and fixing the problems small contractors face when doing business with the government.

On Monday, June 28, the Commerce Department, Office of Management and Budget, and Small Business Administration will host a public meeting in Washington on breaking down barriers to small firms working with the federal government, according a notice posted on Monday in the Federal Register.

The three agencies co-chair the Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses, which President Obama established in late April. A second task force will focus exclusively on improving contracting prospects for small businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans.

Members of the public are encouraged to offer comments on obstacles to small business participation, including problems with teaming and mentorship programs, subcontracting practices, set-asides, bundling, training, outreach and technology.

The task force has been charged with expanding outreach to small firms and helping agencies meet the federal statutory goal of awarding 23 percent of all contract dollars to small business. The group must submit recommendations to the White House by the end of August.

The panel, which includes officials from 15 other agencies, held its first meeting last week in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Joe Jordan, associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, said the meeting attracted several senior agency leaders.

“The fact that there was all this high-level interest and participation makes me encouraged that we may actually get some good solutions … and some buy-in,” Jordan said last week during an interview with Government Executive.

The public meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in Commerce’s main auditorium at 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Participants are asked to preregister by June 21 by e-mailing their name, organization, contact information and topics of interest to Those unable to attend the meeting can e-mail comments to the task force by June 30 at the same address.

— By Robert Brodsky – – June 14, 2010