Small Business Contracts…or are they Big Business Contracts?

The Small Business Administration has released their contracting data for fiscal year 2008, and the numbers show a shortfall in contracts awarded to small businesses to the tune of $6.5 BILLION. The government reports that while congress mandates that at least 23% of all contracts should go to small businesses, only 21.5% of them were awarded to qualified businesses. These are the best self reported numbers to come out of Washington in years, so they do represent some hope…except they’re probably not accurate.

We spoke with Chris Gunn of the American Small Business League on my small business radio show this afternoon. The ASBL did a study of the top 100 contracts awarded to small businesses in 2008, and found that 65% of them were actually given to large multi-national corporations. These contracts were given to companies such as Xerox, HP, AT&T, Boeing, and General Electric. Do any of those sound like small businesses? According to the ASBL, actual contracts awarded to small businesses is less than 10%, not 21.5%, representing a shortfall of over $100 Billion! You can see a raw copy of their study results here.

One way that we can help to combat this problem is to contact our congressional representatives and urge them to support the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act of 2009 (H.R. 2568). We’ll have another visit from the ASBL on the Small Business Hour next month, and will keep on top of this story to let you know the latest.