Each year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) produces its Small Business Procurement Scorecard, which aims to assess the performance of federal agencies towards achieving their small business contracting goals, provide valid and reliable data on federal contracting with an emphasis on transparency, as well as analyze and report agency level and government-wide progress towards the goals. For fiscal year 2017, the SBA revised the methodology for the scorecard, and has since conducted a rigorous program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of this change and the scorecard overall in increasing small business opportunities and improving the ability of federal agencies to meet their small business procurement goals.
Optimal Solutions Group LLC (Optimal) found that the change in the scorecard’s methodology did not result in many changes to small business procurement practices at federal agencies for prime contracting. No changes were observed in indicators of small business opportunities or small business prime contracting dollars after the methodology change. However, the scorecard overall has had a strong positive relationship with indicators of small business prime contracting opportunities, which, in turn, have a positive association with small business contracting dollars. The study conducted by Optimal also found that agencies would like for the SBA to provide guidance on navigating Category Management while promoting small businesses. Overall, the study found partnership and understanding between agencies and the SBA to be the most crucial factor in the entire process of setting and meeting goals to improve small business contracting opportunities in the federal government.
While the findings of the study shed light on the nature of the relationship between the scorecard methodology change and the scorecard overall on small business opportunities and contracting dollars, the study could not provide definite findings of these relationships due to data limitations and methodological challenges.
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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.