PROMESA: State of Small Business Contracting
WASHINGTON – Today, Members of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access heard from officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding small business federal contracting provisions in the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Witnesses discussed trends in the SBA’s contracting programs found in a recent GAO report.
“According to SBA’s size standards, ninety-nine percent of all businesses on the island are considered small, but only a limited number of these firms are actually engaged in federal contracting activities,” said Subcommittee Chairman Knight (R-CA). “The island itself is dominated by small businesses and thus presents an excellent case study examining the efficacy of SBA’s federal contracting programs on the small business community.”
“As the Chairman noted, the vast majority of businesses in Puerto Rico are considered small, but not many of these firms actually operate in the federal contracting space,” Subcommittee Chairman Brat (R-VA) said. “Having a strong, healthy, and diversified small business base is critical to Puerto Rico’s economic stability and financial independence.”
William B. Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the GAO said, “Stakeholders GAO interviewed identified several challenges small businesses in Puerto Rico may face in obtaining federal contracting opportunities. Challenges they identified included a lack of knowledge about the federal contracting process; difficulty meeting procurement requirements; and difficulty accessing bonding, financing, and capital.”
“The staff of Office of Government Contracting and Business Development continues to improve the implementation of the SBA’s federal government contracting programs through improved application and certifications processes,” said Robb Wong, Associate Administrator for the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development at the SBA. “SBA provides assistance to firms at all phases of the procurement process. Our District Office in Puerto Rico conducts small business outreach activities throughout the island including training and seminaries to promote participation in the SBA’s small business programs. ”