US Advances Equity And Economic Opportunity Through Procurement.

With the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration set an objective to ensure federal investments built wealth and opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs and small business owners.

One year from implementation, new data shows how the Biden-Harris Administration is tracking on meeting those objectives. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard for Fiscal Year 2021 shows a record level of Federal contracting dollars awarded SDBs, a category under federal law for which economically disadvantaged Black-owned, Hispanic-owned, and other minority-owned businesses can compete for federal contracting opportunities.  In addition to advancing more equitable federal procurement.

Following this success, the Administration announced further initiatives this week to ensure equitable procurement opportunities for historically disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by women and people of colour. These initiatives include:

  • Setting a New Record for Procurement Spending on Small Businesses, Including Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses. The SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecard shows that in Fiscal Year 2021 that a record amount of contracting dollars to small businesses, including underserved small businesses. In total, $154.2 billion, or 27.2 percent of all contracting dollars, went to small businesses, an $8 billion increase from the previous fiscal year. SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecards can be reviewed here .
  • Launching a government-wide Bipartisan Infrastructure Law technical resources assistance and engagement program to reach small and minority-owned businesses. Beginning this summer and continuing throughout the year, federal agencies will host events aimed at supporting more equitable contracting opportunities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:
  • Providing dedicated support at Business Centers to help businesses become “contract ready.” The Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA) is awarding nearly $3 million in funding to 26 of its Business Centers to support the hiring of federal contract specialists in each Center focused on assisting underserved businesses to access contracting opportunities, including those stemming from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. Specialists will provide wide-ranging technical assistance to help small businesses, including by facilitating access to capital and by coordinating targeted matchmaking between underserved businesses and both government acquisition offices and prime contractors.
  • Modernising the Department of Transport (DOT’s) rules. Last week DOT issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to modernise the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concession DBE (ACDBE) program regulations. The proposed NPRM will help further level the playing field for small, disadvantaged businesses seeking to compete for federally-assisted aviation, highway, and transit contracts as well as airport concession opportunities. Mandated by Congress, the DBE and ACDBE programs over their 40-year histories have been intended to prevent discrimination, and remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination against small businesses owned and controlled by disadvantaged individuals.
  • Expanding access to capital for Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) working on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contracts. Many SDBs report challenges in accessing the long-term, affordable financing options often required to successfully compete for and/or deliver on government contracts. To help fill this gap, DOT and Small Business Administration are collaborating to connect SDBs pursuing or working on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contracts to licensed Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) as a public-private partnership.

In the months to come, the US Administration will highlight additional actions to expand access to capital, help underserved businesses navigate the federal procurement process, and support state and local government efforts to increase business diversity.

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