Before coming to OMB this past winter, I served as Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development at the Small Business Administration, where my primary responsibility was to maximize opportunities for small businesses, including small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran owned small businesses and contractors in Historically Underutilized Business Zones. Both in my experiences at SBA and in the private sector, I was always impressed by the close connection between fostering greater small business participation in contracting and delivering better results and a better value for the American people. When you think about it, the connection is rather easy to explain: both require effective market research to find capable vendors and a well-trained acquisition workforce to negotiate contracts that offer the best value.
It comes as no surprise that so many of the success stories connected with smarter contracting involve small businesses. As just one example, you may recall this past winter that the Department of Commerce announced a new contract with a small business contractor that will lower the Department’s costs for desktops and laptops by 40 percent and save taxpayers between $20-25 million over the next five years. The small business contractor is helping Commerce achieve these savings by eliminating hundreds of redundant contracts meeting the same requirements. This, in turn, will avoid thousands of employee hours that would otherwise be required to maintain hundreds of narrowly tailored contracts. That’s a win for our taxpayers and a win for small businesses. And it’s a win for the American people as those small businesses create jobs.
One of my priorities as the newly confirmed OFPP Administrator is to continue these “win-wins” for our taxpayers and small businesses. Today, as my first official action as OFFP Administrator, I co-signed an important memorandum with SBA Administrator Mills directing agencies to take immediate actions to increase opportunities for small businesses in government contracting.
These tactical steps include using the authorities provided by the Small Business Jobs Act to set-aside orders under multiple award contracts, maximizing opportunities for small businesses when agencies make small dollar awards, and strengthening accountability for small business goal achievement.
This memorandum is a follow-up to a meeting convened by the White House Small Business Procurement Group. This interagency group has been instrumental in bringing top level attention to the importance of maximizing contracting dollars going to small businesses, including women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones, and small disadvantaged businesses. This is just another example of the Obama Administration’s support for America’s job creators.
It was a great honor to work with Federal agencies and small businesses to serve our taxpayers in my role at SBA and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with them again to buy smarter, build the right relationships with our contractors, and provide better service to our citizens.
Joe Jordan is Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy