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The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship this week held a roundtable discussion addressing the issue of how the federal government can expand the number of federal government contracts that are awarded to small businesses. The roundtable was hosted by Lousiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who also chairs the committee.
Landrieu has become a leading voice for small business on Capitol Hill. She helped secure funding for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita-- to the tune of $25 million. She worked on initiatives to reduce fees on SBA loans while laso increasing the SBA loan guarantee on 7(a) loans to 90%, making risk-averse lenders more likely to loan money to small business ventures. And she continues to take a leading role in increasing small business government contracts.
This week's roundtable discussion reviewed the significance of the $10 billion increase in small business government contracts from 2007 to 2008. However impressive the jump, the numbers still fall short of government goals. Even though 21.5% of all contracts went to small business in that time, the roundtable discussion focused on how the projected goal of 23% could be reached.
The event was titled "Small Business Contracting: Ensuring Opportunities for America's Small Businesses" and reviewed challenges faced in pursuing contracts with the government, considerations arising from the American Recovery and Reinvsetment Act, and how protections for sub-contractors could be expanded.
Senator Landrieu said of the event, "small businesses have trouble gaining access to contracts because of a maze of complicated laws and regulations that make it difficult for them to succeed...We can do better. President Obama has pledged to help expand small business contracting by increasing public knowledge of federal contracting opportunities..."