WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today issued a statement after the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the federal government exceeded its overall small business federal contracting goal of 23 percent. Federal agencies awarded 27.2 percent of all contract dollars—$154.2 billion— to small businesses during Fiscal Year 2021. For the first time in history, the federal government reached 11 percent in contracting for Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs), achieving President Biden’s previously-announced commitment to increase the contracting goal for SDBs from 5 percent to 11 percent one year ahead of schedule. Also, the federal government exceeded its 3 percent goal for Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small Businesses, which received 4.4 percent of all contracting dollars.
“Federal contracting is one of the most reliable paths to the middle class for minorities, women, veterans, and other underserved entrepreneurs,” Cardin said. “I am proud that the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to increase underserved small businesses’ access to federal contracts is already paying off. The administration’s reforms to federal contracting will produce economic benefits in some of our most underserved communities for generations to come.”
In addition to the $154.2 billion in prime contracts awarded to small businesses, small business received $72 billion in subprime contracts—supporting more than one million jobs.
The administration made progress on its Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) and Women-owned Small Businesses (WOSB) contracting goals, but failed to meet its goals of 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The administration is committed to working with its agencies to meet these goals in the coming years.
The data released by the administration shows that while the dollar value of small business awards increased, the number of small businesses that received prime contracts decreased during FY21. The reduction continues a more than decade-long trend of larger federal contracts going to fewer and fewer small businesses. The administration committed to addressing this troubling trend when it announced reforms to the federal contracting process in December of last year.
Cardin continued, “I also applaud the administration’s commitment to transparency in its contracting goals, which gives Congress the information it needs to strengthen federal contracting programs and increase opportunities for underserved small businesses. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to increase the number of small businesses, especially underserved small businesses, that are active participants in the federal marketplace.”