Who is bidding on that small-business contract?
By Lloyd Chapman
March 29, 2008
Today, small businesses representing hundreds of different industries across America are unknowingly competing head-to-head with Fortune 500 corporations and multibillion-dollar European conglomerates for even the smallest federal contracts.
In fact, the American Small Business League estimates that more than $60 billion a year in federal small-business contracts are diverted from legitimate small businesses to large corporations.
In Report 5-15, the SBA Office of Inspector General stated, "One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire federal government today is that large businesses are receiving small-business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards."
As a former small business employee, I learned about this devastating abuse the hard way. In the summer of 2002, the small business I was working with lost a small-business set-aside contract to a multi-national corporation based out of Amsterdam with 26,000 employees in 17 countries.
In 2003, information that I provided to the Government Accountability Office prompted the first investigation and the first congressional hearings on the diversion of federal small-business contracts to large corporations. Since then, more than a dozen federal investigations and private studies have found that billions of dollars in federal small-business contracts have instead ended up in the hands of some of the largest corporations in the world.
This is not a partisan issue. It affects small businesses nationwide.
If you own a small business, work at a small business or know someone that has invested their life into their small business, I encourage you to speak out. Ask your representatives to support S
2300, the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2008, which includes a provision for annual re-certification of small-business status.
Additionally, ask them to support the yet-to-be-introduced Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act of 2008.
Finally, reach out to presidential candidates from both parties and ask them what they intend to do to help small businesses compete in the federal marketplace.
Lloyd Chapman is president of the American Small Business League. Web site, www.asbl.com.