Friday, August 21, 2009

In FY 2008, Small Businesses Won Record $93.3 Billion in Federal Contracts

Small businesses won a record $93.3 billion in federal prime contracts in Fiscal Year 2008 [Oct. 1, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2008] -- an increase of almost $10 billion from 2007, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA]’s third annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard, released today. In addition, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses increased their share of federal contracting dollars by at least $1 billion to $3 billion.

"This record $93.3 billion in contracts to small businesses is significant," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. "However, across the federal government, we are committed to ensuring that the 23 percent goal is met, and even exceeded, going forward.

"Especially during these tough economic times, federal contracts for small businesses can be just the opportunity they need to continue to grow and create jobs. At the same time, the federal government gets access to some of the most innovative, and best, products and services."

Earlier this week, the Obama Administration reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that minority-owned businesses and small businesses -- including women and veteran-owned businesses -- have greater access to federal government contracting opportunities. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and SBA Administrator Karen Mills also announced a government-wide plan that includes federal agency procurement officials holding or participating in more than 200 events over the next 90 days to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"President Obama [pictured] has made a commitment to ensuring that small businesses have greater access to federal contracting opportunities, and it is a commitment shared across this Administration," noted Mills. "We have already begun taking aggressive steps to connect small businesses with contracting opportunities, as well as increase our outreach to federal agency procurement officers to make sure they get the information and tools they need to help them connect with these good, innovative small companies."

Small Business Procurement Scorecards provide an assessment of federal achievement in prime contracting to small businesses by the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies. It also measures progress that departments are making to ensure that small business opportunities remain an integral part of their acquisition of goods and services to meet mission objectives.

The Scorecard was designed as an internal control and monitoring device to ensure that:

1] Federal agencies reach their small-business and socio-economic goals;

2] Accurate and transparent contracting data is used; and

3] Agency-specific progress is maintained.

SBA is issuing the Small Business Procurement Scorecards for the third time.

The annual Scorecard rates federal agency performance in meeting the overall small-business goal and the component contracting goals for small disadvantaged businesses, small businesses in HUBZones, and small businesses owned by women and service-disabled veterans. Procurement goals for federal procuring agencies may vary, because the SBA negotiates individual goals with each federal procuring agency.

The following 13 agencies met small-business contracting goals: the departments of Agriculture [USDA], Education, Energy [DOE], the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], General Services Administration [GSA], Health and Human Services [HHS], Homeland Security [DHS], Interior [DOI], National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC], Transportation [DOT], SBA and Veterans Affairs [VA].

The following 22 agencies met goals for contracts to small disadvantaged businesses: the departments of Agriculture, Commerce [DOC], Defense [DOD], Education, Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development [HUD], Interior, Justice [DOJ], Labor [DOL], National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation [NSF], the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, SBA, Social Security Administration [SSA], State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs.

The following 14 agencies met goals for women-owned small businesses: the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, General Services Administration, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Transportation, Treasury, and SBA.

The following nine agencies met HUBZone contracting goals: the departments of Agriculture, Energy, General Services Administration, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Transportation and SBA.

The following four agencies met goals for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans: the departments of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, Labor and Veterans Affairs.

According to the Scorecard ratings of performance on all five goals:

* One agency -- GSA -- met or surpassed its goals in all areas.

* Eight agencies -- DHS, DOE, DOI, DOL, DOT, NRC, SBA, USDA -- met or surpassed four of the five goals.

* Four agencies -- Education, EPA, HHS, VA -- met or surpassed three of the five goals.

* Four agencies -- DOC, HUD, NASA and Treasury -- met or surpassed two of the five goals.

* Five agencies -- DOD, DOJ, NSF, SSA and State -- met or surpassed one of the five goals.

* Two agencies -- Office of Personnel Management [OPM] and the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] -- met none of the five goals.

About the Scorecard
SBA rates 24 agencies green, yellow or red on each of the individual goals established by Congress, and gave a numerical score to each agency based on how many of the five goals were met or surpassed.

Each federal agency has a different small-business contracting goal, determined annually in consultation with SBA. SBA ensures that the sum total of all of the goals meets the 23 percent target established by law.

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase access to contracting opportunities for small businesses, the SBA is continuing to work with federal agency procurement staff to strengthen the integrity of contracting data -- including providing tools to facilitate public review of data and training to improve accuracy.

The goaling reports released today by SBA are available at

SOURCES: General Accounting Office, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recovery Act Funding to Expand Microlending to Small Businesses Across the U.S.

With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding an additional $50 million for loans, plus $24 million for technical assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] is expanding its Microloan program and increasing access to capital for small businesses across the country.

The program is shifting to funding provided under the Recovery Act, now that it has exhausted the regular FY 2009 appropriations for $20 million in loans and $20 million in technical assistance. With the additional resources, SBA is focused on adding new lenders and encouraging entrepreneurs to seek out SBA-backed microlenders to finance their businesses.

"SBA’s Microloan program provides a critical source of capital for entrepreneurs -- including women, low-income individuals and minorities, who often have difficulty obtaining capital to start and grow their businesses," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. "With these resources, we can put more entrepreneurs and small-business owners in a position to succeed and create jobs that will, in turn, help drive our nation’s economic recovery."

Since the Recovery Act, SBA has approved eight new applications from lenders to join the Microloan program, and has 15 new loans to microlenders for $10.7 million in Recovery Act funds ready to be disbursed. Of those 15 loans, eight are for new microlenders.

The approved new microlenders are: Vermont Community Loan Fund Inc., of Montpelier, Vt; Neighborhood Development Center, of St. Paul, Minn.; Cen-Tex Certified Development Corp., of Austin, Texas; The Emperor Organization, of Tallahassee, Fla.; Staunton Creative Community Fund Inc., of Staunton, Va.; Lane MicroBusiness [d.b.a. eDev], of Eugene, Ore.; FINANTA [formerly known as American Street Financial Services], of Philadelphia, Pa; and ACCION USA Inc., of New York, N.Y.

SBA’s Microloan program supports microlenders by providing them with up to $3.5 million in low-cost loans from SBA to finance their lending to small businesses. SBA’s interest rate to microlenders is based on the five-year Treasury rate, with adjustments tied to a microlender’s average loan size.

Microlenders use the SBA funding to provide loans of up to $35,000 to entrepreneurs. Loans can be used for working capital and acquisition of materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

SBA also provides grant funding to microlenders, to finance technical assistance and counseling programs for their borrowers -- including staff, classroom training, and occupancy costs. SBA’s reimbursement is capped at 25 percent of the microlender’s outstanding SBA loan portfolio.

Organizations interested in becoming SBA microlenders must meet specific criteria -- in terms of organizational status, microlending experience, and matching requirements from non-federal sources. For more information, please visit:; e-mail; or, call 202-205-6485.

Entrepreneurs who wish to learn about SBA's Microloan program can visit:

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Obama Administration Announces Efforts to Increase Access to Contracting Opportunities for Minority-Owned, Small Businesses

The Obama Administration today reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that minority-owned and small businesses -- including women- and veteran-owned businesses -- have greater access to federal government contracting opportunities.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke [pictured] and SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced a government-wide plan that includes federal agency procurement officials holding or participating in more than 200 events over the next 90 days to share information on government contracting opportunities -- including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"Small and minority-owned businesses must play a significant role in our efforts to restore economic growth," said President Barack Obama. "Small businesses employ half of the nation’s private-sector workforce; create a large share of the nation’s new jobs; and introduce many groundbreaking ideas into the marketplace. It is essential that we provide our nation’s small businesses with maximum practicable opportunity to participate in federal government contracting.

"In order for the federal government to better meet or exceed the goal of 23 percent of prime contracts for small businesses, Vice President Biden and I have tasked Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke with leading a federal government-wide initiative to increase outreach. Over the course of the next 90 days, agency officials will take an important step forward by holding or participating in more than 200 events focused on sharing information on government contracting opportunities."

Vice President Joe Biden noted that Recovery Act funding will play a significant role in fueling this far-reaching initiative. "In these tough economic times, the Recovery Act is providing billions of dollars in opportunity and incentives to help businesses grow -- and the President and I are committed to ensuring that small and minority-owned businesses are part of our economic recovery every step of the way," he said. "By taking advantage of the expertise of an array of companies, we are going to be able to build a stronger, more secure foundation for long-term economic growth."

As part of the Commerce-SBA initiative, over the next 90 days:

* Federal agency procurement officials will hold or participate in more than 200 events to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

* SBA and Commerce will expand their outreach to fellow contracting officials across the federal government, passing along best practices for outreach and education to every agency, to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their annual contracting goals.

* Locke and Mills will promote small-business contracting opportunities in remarks, special events and discussions with small-business groups across the country -- including minority, women and veteran groups.

"It has been a priority from Day 1 of this Administration to ensure that small and minority-owned businesses are aware of, and have access to, federal contracts and funding opportunities," said Locke. "Over the past 40 years, minority-owned businesses have grown from 300,000 to nearly 4 million today. Their success, and the success of small American businesses, are vital to our economic recovery."

Beyond the next 90 days, Commerce and SBA will support, monitor and track the impact of these efforts going forward, to help ensure the Administration is maximizing opportunities for small businesses.

Administrator Mills beamed at the potential of this initiative to harness entrepreneurs' innovative energy, ideas and expertise. "Government contracts can play a key role in helping small businesses turn the corner, in terms of expansion and job creation," Mills said. "But, make no mistake, the benefits the government receives are equally as impressive. Working with small businesses allows the federal government to work with some of the most innovative companies in America -- with direct line to CEO."

Small-business owners can find out about federal contracting opportunities by visiting Commerce and SBA officials are also available in local offices across the country to assist small businesses interested in contracting opportunities. Contact information for local offices can be found at and

SOURCES:, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elance Releases August Work Index

Hot off the press is the August Elance Work Index, a ranking of the hottest skills in demand on the Web today, based on data from more than 100,000 jobs posted on Elance over recent months.

In August 2009, the fastest-growing skills in demand include:

1. Graphic Design
2. PHP
3. MySQL
4. Adobe Flash
6. Article Writing
7. Internet Marketing
8. Joomla!
9. CSS
10. Logo Design


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Privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, Cal., Elance delivers an immediate, cost-effective and flexible way to hire, manage and pay independent professionals and contractors online. Companies tap into Elance’s skilled talent pool to distribute their work, while professionals use Elance to meet clients, stay independent, and get paid for delivering great results.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CEA Chair Christina Romer, Ph.D.: Health Insurance Reform Will Benefit Small Business -- Not Burden It

"Whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don't have today. This isn't about politics. This is about people's lives. This is about people's businesses. This is about our future." -- President Barack Obama

As misinformation about health-care-reform proposals virally spews from the shameless likes of the National Federation of Independent Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other counterproductive entities so intent on maintaining the inert status quo, the White House has released a Health Insurance Reform Reality Check. The website features videos of eight key people providing personal, professional and, above all, factual accounts of just how, exactly, health insurance reform will truly benefit Americans.

While all of the videotaped accounts are credible, concise and well worth anyone's time in gleaning valuable firsthand information about proposed health insurance reform, GoodBiz113 readers will likely be most interested in the segment featuring Christina Romer, Ph.D., chair of the Council of Economic Advisers [CEA].

In her three-minute testimonial, Dr. Romer debunks the myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, she notes, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

To watch Dr. Romer's videotaped account and/or read the transcript, go to:

Get the facts about the stability and security you get from health insurance reform:

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