Growing small businesses and diversifying the pool of federal contractors are important goals. However, recently, there have been several highly publicized examples of small business contractors who shortchanged workers on federal jobs. While small businesses may not be able to meet all the experiential criteria that are part of the responsibility determination, there needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure that small businesses (and their affiliated businesses) have records of legal and ethical compliance and that they have adequate financial resources to meet payroll and other obligations while awaiting payment from the government. As part of the effort to ensure the success of new entrants, the SBA and DOL should offer small businesses training about their obligations under laws such as the Service Contract Act, so they can price their bids accurately. With these safeguards in place, federal contracting can both support small business growth and strengthen economically disadvantaged communities.
Idea No. 97