Small Business Set Asides

History and Overview of Small Business Set Asides

During the war-filled decade of the 1940s, American lawmakers noticed a burgeoning trend in the economic market: small businesses were impacted harshly by the defense economy, with many forced to close their doors for good as a result of their inability to obtain defense contracts. In 1953, however, Congress sought to remedy this by passing the Small Business Act. The act, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) and codified mandatory small business involvement in United States Government (USG) contracting efforts. Small businesses, then, played a crucial role in serving the warfighter in the Korean War, Vietnam War, and myriad other American defense involvements. The competition expanded, and small businesses grew their presence in the profitable government procurement space.  

Today, the SBA has grown in size and firmly established itself as the leading advocate for small business involvement in government contracting. In fact, every fiscal year the USG must set aside at least 23% of all contracts for small businesses, thus guaranteeing small business growth through business to government (B2G) sales and reinforcing the SBA’s mission statement: “To maintain and strengthen the nation's economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters.”  

Small Business Participation

While the remaining 77% of government contracts open to large business competitors may seem significant and discouraging to small businesses looking to move into B2G sales, one must consider federal spending levels in recent years. In 2021, the USG spent $645B on federal contracts, and in 2020, the USG spent a record $682B in federal contracts. This leaves small businesses with significant financial growth opportunities—$148B awarded to small businesses in 2021, and a record $157B in federal government funds in 2020. And these numbers only reflect government spending at the federal level. State, local, and education (SLED) funding abounds with small business contract holders, as this level of government spending is often overlooked by large competitors.  

One of the biggest roadblocks preventing small businesses from pursuing B2G sales is the complexity of submitting effective, winning proposals/quotes in response to government solicitations. B2G sales, many small businesses discover, is unlike business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) sales, as B2G sales is replete with esoteric language, requirements, and contract clauses. Many small businesses, in fact, try to enter the world of B2G sales with little understanding and guidance. This blind Hail Mary approach is often met with losing evaluation notices, wasted resources, and no financial return. But B2G sales efforts do not need to end in this defeated, uninspired trio. A dedicated government sales team who is experienced and fluent in B2G sales can be the difference between losing proposals and winning lucrative contracts.

How JetCo Can Help

Since its inception in 2006, JetCo Solutions (JetCo) has served as the bridge for small businesses to cross to enter B2G sales. Our Capture, Research, and Proposal Management services have helped our clients win almost 700 contracts, resulting in well over $4B in contract awards. Furthermore, JetCo has remained true to its founding tenet of providing small businesses a competitive position in B2G sales, as 98% of our contract wins have been for small business clients. As a small business, JetCo understands how vital B2G sales can be in growing one’s business. We have assisted our clients in winning contracts with 279 different federal and SLED agencies. In these wins, we have seen our clients grow not only financially but at the personnel level as well, as many of our clients have been afforded the financial resources to grow their team through B2G sales.  

JetCo’s history as a B2G consultant starts and ends with our clients. Our success hinges directly on our clients’ success, a philosophy JetCo’s Capture, Research, and Proposal Management teams exemplify with each submitted bid. Redolent of the USG and SBA in the mid-20th century, JetCo understands the vital role small business play in government contracting, and we strive to position our clients in a competitive space to grow through B2G sales.  

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