Optimal Will Present Findings on the Effects of Federal Government Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses at Fall Research Conference

Date: September 20, 2021

Four representatives from Optimal Solutions Group LLC (Optimal) will present research papers on the effects of federal contracting opportunities for small businesses at the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management’s (APPAM) 43rd Annual Fall Research Conference in Austin, Texas, this November.

As part of the panel “The Effects of Government Procurement Policies and Practices in Advancing Small Business Contracting Opportunities,” Optimal’s President Dr. Mark Turner and Research Associate Andrey Vinokurov will present “The Effects of Set-Aside Procurement on the Availability of Women-Owned Small Businesses in Federal Contracting.” The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal contracting program is one of several programs that Congress has approved to provide greater opportunities for small businesses to win federal contracts. Recent research by Optimal reveals that WOSBs availability (proportion of WOSBs that are ready, willing, and able compared to all ready, willing, and able firms in each industry) is low when compared to the relative size of women in the population. This study measures the responsiveness of relative and absolute availability of WOSBs that are ready, willing, and able to perform federal contracting in response to federal agencies’ use of set-asides and sole-source contracts.

As part of the same panel, Data Scientist Sadaf Asrar and Business Intelligence Analyst Yash Kothari will present “Effects of the 8(a) Program in Increasing the Utilization of Small Disadvantaged Businesses in Federal Government Contracting.” The federal government established the 8(a) program to improve the capacity and supplier base of small businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged members of society. To help provide a level playing field, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) program. The objective of this paper is to understand the market for goods and services demanded by federal agencies and those supplied by 8(a) businesses as well as to examine the performance of 8(a) businesses in obtaining federal contracts as they progress from the initial development stage to the transitional stage of the program and assess how they fare once they graduate. 

The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary research conference attracting the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues.

Visit APPAM conference and panel for more information.


Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC, is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out for its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s Discovery District in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees, including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in economics, education, health, housing, sociology, statistics, information management and entrepreneurship. Optimal has four research centers—Health, Education, Housing and Workforce Development, and Social Policy—as well as an International Practice, Analytics Group, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.