Small Business Contracting Supports Millions of Jobs

More than four million jobs have been supported from small business contract set-asides from FY 2009 to FY 2015.

What is the Issue?

The Federal government allocates more than $500 billion dollars in contracts each year to support operations and maintenance of its programs.  Given that small businesses are major drivers of a healthy economy, the Federal government, through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), ensures that a fair portion of these contracts are reserved for their competition. Also, a portion of Federal contracts are set-aside for underserved populations, including small businesses that are women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, socially or economically disadvantaged-owned, or located in an economically disadvantaged HUBZone.


The set asides for small businesses and underserved populations help promote small business growth. Prior to elevating small business contracting to an SBA Agency Priority Goal in 2010, the Federal government had fallen short on meeting its statutory goals for small business contracting.  Since then, the SBA has helped more small businesses procure federal contracts and has consistently exceeded the government-wide small business target of 23% of all federal contracting dollars since FY 2013. 

What was the Intervention?

SBA employees from the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development meet monthly with each Federal agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to provide training and updates, share best practices, and discuss progress toward their prime contracting and subcontracting goals as part of the Small Business Procurement Advisory Committee. These meetings support the SBA in their negotiations with each agency to set their prime and subcontracting goals.


At the same time, Procurement Center Representatives (PCR), SBA contracting specialists, engage with each Agency’s purchasing offices. The PCR reviews Federal contracts which are not reserved for small business in order to identify whether they could be set-aside to help agencies meet their small business goals, which in turn helps the Federal government meet its small business set-aside goal. SBA PCRs are located across the country to assess Federal contracting strategies at more than 2,800 federal procurement centers.


The SBA also reinstituted its regulatory compliance oversight with each agency. These reviews help the SBA evaluate the implementation of regulations across the Federal government to ensure that small businesses are afforded maximum practicable Federal contracting opportunities. At the end of the year, each agency receives a scorecard on their progress. These scorecards are available online at

How was performance management useful?

As a Priority Goal, the Deputy Administrator, Performance Improvement Officer, and Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development review evidence and discuss the status of contracting opportunities each quarter. As a central focus of the quarterly performance reviews, senior leaders determine which agencies are not meeting their goals and determine strategies to conduct effective outreach to ensure they get on track. Administrator Contreras-Sweet has been a major proponent of the goal and stresses its importance with her counterparts at other agencies. The results are then published on to increase transparency and ensure accountability so that the public and small business owners are aware of opportunities.  

What was the impact?

Between FY 2009 and FY 2015, more than four million jobs have been supported. During this same period, the Federal government allocated nearly $642 billion in contracts to small businesses. This allocation represents billions dollars and thousands of jobs and can be attributed to its success through focused attention at the SBA.