Recently, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship called for increased small business participation in federal contracts during a hearing on the SBA’s contracting programs. Senator Ben Cardin based his concern on a recent report showing that the number of small businesses with federal contracts was at a 10-year low.
The report found that federal agencies had awarded contracts to 32 percent fewer small businesses in 2018 versus 2009. In contrast, the number of large contractors receiving awards fell only 4% during the same time frame.
The Senator’s take on this report was that, “while contracts are getting bigger and bigger, we are creating an insular club where fewer and fewer businesses successfully compete for government contracts.” He added, “[t]hat’s contrary to what these set-asides and programs are all about, which is encouraging new small businesses that can bring innovation and job growth to our economy and help our nation.”
Sen. Cardin also noted that, while federal agencies are meeting their goal of spending 23 percent of contracts on small businesses, “the data shows that we have a shrinking base of contractors rather than an expanding base of contractors.”
In other words, fewer small businesses are receiving the benefit of those set asides.
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