Small firms can play a big role in government contracting

Aikta Marcoulier

During July, the U.S. Small Business Administration has highlighted the commitments to America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups as well as the benefits of a bipartisan infrastructure law that will create opportunities for small manufacturers and contractors.

As Colorado and the nation recovers from the pandemic and supply chain issues, the federal government must level the playing field for small manufacturing firms that want to expand and compete globally. As I visit communities throughout the Rocky Mountain region, I see more jobs, more hope and something else more important: the rebirth of pride that comes from buying American.

Colorado is a hub for small manufacturers. One example is Deltech Furnaces Inc. based in Adams County. Deltech designs, builds and exports furnaces to produce scientific products, from laboratory implements to semi-conductor components. Deltech is a small, family run company with a big impact. Today, Deltech furnaces can be found at universities and laboratories worldwide.  

The mission of the SBA is to assure an equitable federal procurement strategy that prioritizes small and disadvantaged businesses, increases competition and rebuilds our economy from the bottom up and middle out. The SBA collaborates with an array of federal agencies to take shopping small to a whole new level by transforming how the U.S. government — the world’s largest buyer — spends more than $560 billion of tax revenues on goods and services each year.

 To assist businesses with planning, strategy and contracting, the SBA works with various partners, including Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. President Joe Biden laid out his vision to open more doors to federal contracting with an ambitious goal: Increase the share going to small and disadvantaged businesses by
50 percent by 2025. Buying from small and disadvantaged businesses will leverage the federal government’s purchasing power to re-establish domestic supply chains and American-made products, using market growth opportunities to strengthen the industrial base.

 Included in these reforms is an effort to make certain that “category management,” a government-wide initiative to strategically source commonly purchased goods and services, doesn’t shut out small businesses. We want to make it easier for more small businesses owned by people of color, women and veterans, to do business with the federal government. The administration has directed more than 40,000 federal contracting officers across government to spend tens of billions of dollars more with small, disadvantaged businesses. 

 The $1.2 trillion included the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act creates an enormous opportunity for small construction and service firms. The SBA stands ready to support these businesses with bonding capacity, access to capital and the ability to subcontract with large businesses to get their fair share of the contracting pie. We must ensure taxpayer dollars are used to fortify entrepreneurship, innovation and domestic supply chains — and in the process strengthen our democracy by creating equitable pathways to the American dream.

Today, we are more committed than ever to ensuring the federal government shops small to help our nation build back better following the pandemic. 

Aikta Marcoulier is administrator of U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII.
Marcoulier oversees the programs and services of the federal agency in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. For more information about the SBA, visit www.sba.gov. Follow the agency on Twitter @SBArockymtn and @SBA_colorado.