Supplier Diversity – SBA Grades Federal Agencies

The Small Business Administration publishes an annual scorecard to grade federal agencies on their progress toward reaching small business procurement goals. They literally grade them. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development got a D overall. (Seriously.)

Homeland Security scored a straight A, and blew their prime contracting goals away, with the exception of HUB Zone prime contracts, where they got very close to their 3% goal.

What does this mean for you, and why do we monitor the scorecards?

You might have a diverse status that federal agencies want. Agencies are judged publicly through their small business scores, and trends over time may show an area of future focus for that agency. For example: You have a woman owned small business (WOSB), and our research has led us to identify NASA as a federal agency target. Each year, NASA’s scorecard reflects an inability to reach their 5% prime contracting goal for awards to WOSBs. In 2010, they reached 2.24%, even less than the 2.37% in 2009. Based on NASA’s engagement in the SBA Scorecard process and their comments regarding improvement, we will likely recommend altering our marketing messages to incorporate the NASA OSBP and weave WBENC certification logos into all capabilities statement and outreach materials.

We never recommend leading your marketing messages with your diverse status. Instead, lead with capabilities and differentiators, allowing the diverse status to serve as an obvious undertone and added value.