Small businesses were awarded 23.39% of prime contracting dollars in Fiscal Year 2013, a jump of more than a percentage point from FY 2012 levels–and above the 23% government-wide goal for the first time in several years.
According to the recently-released SBA Procurement Scorecard, the government exceeded its goals for SDVOSBs and SDBs, but failed to hit its targets for HUBZones and WOSBs. Despite these shortfalls, the SBA gave the government an overall “A” rating for its FY 2013 performance.
In FY 2013, the government awarded $83.1 billion in prime contracting dollars to small businesses, a rate of 23.39%. The government should be applauded for surpassing its percentage goal, but the percentage is not the whole story. Thanks to spending cuts, overall dollars awarded to small businesses fell considerably–down from $89.9 billion in FY 2012, a year in which the government only managed to award 22.25% of prime dollars to small businesses. In FY 2011, the government awarded only 21.65% of prime dollars to small businesses, but total awards were $91.5 billion. Hitting a percentage target is nice, but doesn’t make up for more than $8 billion in decreased small business spending in the last two years.
The government reached two of its four socioeconomic goals: 8.61% for SDBs (5% goal) and 3.38% for SDVOSBs (3% goal). Awards to WOSBs increased, on a percentage basis, from 4% to 4.32%, but still fell short of the 5% goal. HUBZone awards continued to decline sharply, down to 1.76% from 2.01% the previous year–just more than half the 3% goal.
Among notable agencies, the DoD awarded only 21.09% of prime dollars to small businesses, and missed three of the four socioeconomic goals–including the SDVOSB goal. The SBA nonetheless gave the DoD a “B” grade. The VA performed well overall, awarding 36.21% of prime dollars to small businesses and 19.38% to SDVOSBs. Although the VA missed its WOSB and HUBZone goals, it received an “A” for its efforts. The Department of Transportation received a well-deserved “A+” for awarding 43.34% of prime dollars to small businesses and meeting all four of its socioeconomic goals. As usual, the Department of Energy received an “F,” awarding only 5.71% of prime dollars to small businesses and falling far short on all four socioeconomic goals.
The FY 2013 Procurement Scorecard shows that many agencies are making sustained and committed efforts to award contracts to small businesses and meet their goals. Still, until the government meets all of its goals–including its WOSB and HUBZone goals–I question whether the overall “A” grade was deserved.