SBA: Small Business Contracts Awarded by US Government Exploded in 2017
The U.S. government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services and spends over $400 billion annually. The value of Small Business Contract awarded by the US Federal Government has exceeded $100 Billion for the first time in history. Federal guidelines require that the government spends at least 23% of its contract purchases with small businesses each year.
According to an announcement by the SBA, the federal government surpassed its small business contracting goal for the 5th consecutive year by awarding 23.88 percent of its contract dollars to small businesses in 2017. The total for the year was $105 billion, an increase of $5 billion. The success marked the first time ever that small businesses passed the $100 billion milestone.
Furthermore, the federal government awarded nearly $75 billion in subcontracting dollars to small companies. Both the prime contract and the subcontracting dollars awarded to small businesses in fiscal year 2017 support an estimated one million private sector jobs.
The US Government has released a beta version of it's contract locators (called "The Contracting Opportunity Finder") for identifying small businesses contracts with the Federal Government.
The SBA also offers valuable assistance for companies looking to export. Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t realize foreign sales opportunities are within reach. The SBA offers the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) designed to build the bridge to new markets. STEP helps small business owners learn how to export, participate in foreign trade missions and trade shows, obtain services to support foreign market entry, develop websites to attract foreign buyers, and design international marketing campaigns.
Although most people are familiar with the SBA small business funding programs, they might be surprised to learn that the agency does not make loans directly. Rather, the SBA has a network of partner lenders that provide loans to small companies. The lending institutions negotiate funding rates and terms under SBA guidelines.
SBA loans come with a government-backed guarantee against default. This makes SBA loan-making very attractive to the agency’s partnering lenders, which include banks, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. By providing government guarantees, the SBA helps mitigate lender risk and thereby makes it easier for small businesses to secure the funding they need for growth.
Additionally, the SBA also offers a wide range of services, including seminars and online training that can help entrepreneurs start and operate a business. Further, it provides free counseling and mentoring through its network of Small Business Development Centers to help entrepreneurs undertake with marketing efforts, begin and expand production, and overcome technical problems. The SBA also offers special services geared towards helping women, veterans, and entrepreneurs who export.
The SBA also partners with nearly 350 SCORE chapters set up throughout the country in urban, suburban and rural communities. The SCORE Association “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of 13,000+ volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. SCORE volunteers are trained to serve as counselors advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. Their services – including assistance in developing business plans – are offered free of charge as a community service.