On Monday June 28, 2010, 500 business owner travelled to Washington DC from all parts of the country to speak to the the newly formed Inter Agency Task Force on Small Business Contracting. The White House in April established a pair of interagency task forces to help federal agencies award more contracts to small businesses. The first task force will focus on improving procurement opportunities for all small businesses and helping agencies meet statutory contracting goals. The second group will focus exclusively on improving contracting opportunities for small businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans — a subcategory that typically receives among the lowest percentage of set-aside contracts.
Small Businesses Are Struggling and Government Inter Agency Panel Is Trying To Fix The Problem
The Office of Management and Budget, SBA will co-chair this inter agency panel along with 15 other senior officials across the federal agencies. At a time when double dip recession is threatening our economy, a continued lack of lending by banks to small business, and unemployment still remaining close to 10% than 9%, there could be no more important task and problem to solve in our nation’s economy. After spending 10 years next year in assisting businesses position themselves to successfully engage in government contracting, we have never seen a time where businesses small, mid size and large are operating conservatively, cutting back on spending because of a serious lack of confidence in the economy. In fact, when you think profoundly about this uncertainty by business, one wonders what becomes the turn around for our economy. All reports point to small business and job creation.
Hence, Government takes on yet another challenge. In the wake of job loss resulting from the BP oil spill, and the laundry list of economic concerns, I must admit that the process of the Inter-Agency panel requesting public input from businesses is probably the most appropriate strategy at this time. However, we have also noted that the Open Government Directive plan requiring agencies to make data available is currently missing in the process. That is, transparency of information collected from businesses, and public participation on the ideas that have been shared with the inter agency should be required to be posted on the agencies website. This is an opinion that Open Government TV opens up to the readers of this release along with our request to keep your input coming in on how to best ensure that small businesses will be able to win more contracts and create more jobs.
Some of the input that OGTV captured in exclusive video included suggestions to:
Increase the Simplified Acquisition to $500,000.00 versus the $100,000.00.
Unbundle large contracts.
Enforce small business plans by prime contractors.
Develop a bundling program for small businesses
Mentoring must become mandatory
Increase SBA loans and more relaxed credit requirements.
Publicly post procurement data-so agencies do not make a few large awards to meet goals.
15 minute matchmaking doesn’t work
Bring contracting officers and large primes together to engage in the problem and hold both accountable.
OGTV believes that the TARP funding returned by the Banks bail out program should be earmarked to set up funding allocation for this small business program to increase contracting success for small businesses.
Because this procurement problem is so critically tied to the future of our nations recovery, OGTV brings this problem to Gov Loop and for the remainder of the week invite your input. We have not come across a social media online community who may have more insights. We believe that your input and specific input from the Better Buy program can help this process, and help the Inter Agency Panel create a credible and transparent plan that will increase collaborations and small business participation. With a membership of 30,000, this robust
group and its innovative talents is needed at this time.
Please email your comments to the Govloop reply on this blog, and or email comments to [email protected] We will be sure that these ideas get into the hands of the panel. If you are interested in viewing the video of the June 28th public outreach forum, send request to [email protected] or call 202-449-7705.
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The very first comment received from our blog this morning reads:
“The Federal Government does an excellent job telling the small business community how the system is supposed to work in terms of the award of contracts. It just doesn’t work that way and until they figure out how business is really conducted, its all a waste of time. Include folks on the panel that has practical experience on both sides of the fence and not individuals telling the small business community how to do something they have never done themselves. The Federal folks hide behind the pay check they receive bi-weekly. In fact, all they have to do is wake up in the morning to get their pay checks”.
This comment comes from a senior level ranking official of who I will make anonymous because I know the person and their heart is golden for small business. So we really must have a problem.
Government employees, Please do not get defensive. Together, let’s get offensive and help solve the nation’s problem affecting small business. Technology and Tools can overcome politics if people have the will.