Testimony to the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee regarding SBA’s role in Recovery contracting

Testimony Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Congressional Testimony Delivered To: 
Congressional Testimony From: 

Chair Landrieu, Ranking Member Snowe, and Members of the Committee, I am Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development. I am honored to be testifying before you to discuss SBA’s role in Recovery contracting. I know Administrator Mills testified before you recently, and discussed the SBA’s programs relating to Recovery. Today, I want to focus on the procurement side.

The SBA is working hard to ensure that America’s small businesses have a fair share of Recovery Act contracts and subcontracts. So far, dollars to small businesses have been steadily increasing week to week. Although, the obligation of contracts is in the early stages, dollars to small businesses currently total $389 million, which is an increase of over $50 million since last week. We are working with all federal agencies in a variety of ways to meet the goal of issuing 23 percent of contracting dollars to small businesses.

First, we worked closely with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to highlight small business preference programs in guidance for Recovery procurement competitions. Guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget on April 3rd highlights the critical role small business play in stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. The guidance makes clear that all small business statutes and regulations must be followed.

In addition, we are partnering with the General Services Administration to disseminate information regarding large contracts is available to small businesses via the Internet. The Federal Business Opportunities website (www.fbo.gov) lists all solicitations for Recovery contracts. SBA’s recovery website links to that website, as well as the grants.gov website. I am also very pleased that small businesses can now find Recovery-Act-specific subcontracting opportunities at www.sba.gov/subnet - an important new resource which we announced this week throughout our Subcontracting Opportunity Network. At the same time, we are reminding larger businesses of tools such as the Dynamic Small Business Search, which allows them to search, find and partner with the best small business for their subcontracting opportunities.

SBA’s website has useful information for small businesses searching for Recovery contracts, including links to the sites mentioned above, and a Frequently Asked Questions document that provides detailed information on contracting in both English and Spanish. We also intend to make other improvements to the contracting portion of our website in the coming months, as new developments arise in connection with Recovery contracts.

All of SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs) have sent letters to the directors of their contracting offices, offering assistance in finding small businesses for their recovery contracts. Examples of requests for proposals for contracts include:

  • Small Business set-asides by the Army;
  • HUBZone set-asides by the Department of Labor and the Air Force;
  • Service Disabled Veteran set-asides by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
  • Competitive 8(a) contracts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to name just a few.

At the local level, our field staff is engaged with state and local officials, reminding them of the benefits of using small businesses for Recovery work. Those efforts were supported by letters sent from Administrator Mills to all of the nation’s governors, urging them to use small businesses for the products and services when contracting with Recovery Act dollars.

Additionally, there are many field events occurring weekly relating to contracting and Recovery work. These events cover everything from helping firms locate Recovery contracts to basic training on ‘how to do business with the government.’ Since the Recovery Act was signed into law, the SBA has directly participated in events across the country. Examples of our outreach and training efforts include:

  • Several workshops across Louisiana sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development in conjunction with Chairman Landrieu’s office.
  • In North Carolina, an Environmental Protection Agency workshop/training on SBA Small Business Procurement Programs for its Program Managers.
  • Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce Construction, Architecture & Engineering Forum event entitled "Implementation Workshop for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”
  • The GSA Heartland Region’s Industry Days Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • An event in upstate New York, sponsored by the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, entitled, “Accelerate CNY.”

The SBA is continuously looking for ways to increase small business participation in federal contracting. The Recovery Act offers both unique challenges and opportunities, but we are working to see that small businesses will be given the opportunities they deserve, and play a key part in our nation’s economic recovery.

Thank you and I’m pleased to take your questions and comments.