Yesterday, I attended a meeting of leaders from across federal agencies to discuss small business procurement. I had the chance to thank them for working tremendously hard to give small businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses, and service-disabled veterans new opportunities to compete for federal contracts.
The Obama Administration’s outreach to small businesses has been truly unprecedented. Since March, more than 22 top administration officials, including Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, and GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, have joined more than 10,000 small business owners at 20 matchmaking events around the country.
The Obama Administration is committed to doing everything it can to increase overall small business contracting and meet the four socio-economic contracting goals that were established by Congress some time ago.
For example, the Treasury Department implemented new metrics for measuring small business contracting success, and saw a dramatic increase in their contracting numbers. The Defense Department, which awards 70 percent of federal contracting funds, has adopted similar metrics for fiscal year 2012.
Several other cabinet agencies have also employed new contracting strategies. The Department of Interior and USAID produced large increases in their small-business contracting numbers last year, and they were able to share best practices at yesterday’s meeting.
Expanding federal contracting opportunities puts Americans back to work while helping our hardest-hit communities, and it is just one of the many ways President Obama has supported America’s job creators since taking office. As our economy continues to face the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression, the Obama Administration will continue doing everything it can to create jobs, expand opportunity, and support American small businesses.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.