By Aikta Marcoulier, SBA Region 8 Administrator
During July, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) will kick off its Build America, Buy American month of action to highlight the administration’s commitments to America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups and highlight the benefits of the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law that will create opportunities for small manufacturers and contractors.
As Colorado and the nation recovers from the pandemic, and supply chain issues, the federal government must begin to level the playing field for small manufacturing firms wanting to scale up, expand, and compete globally. As I visit local communities throughout the Rocky Mountain region, I am seeing more jobs, more hope, and something else more important: the rebirth of pride that comes from buying American.
Colorado is a hub for small manufacturers. One example is Deltech Furnaces Inc., which is based in Adams County, Colorado. Deltech designs, builds, and exports furnaces to produce scientific products, from laboratory implements to semi-conductor components. Deltech is a small, family-run company with a large impact. Today, Deltech furnaces can be found at universities and laboratories worldwide.
The SBA’s mission is to assure there is an equitable federal procurement strategy that prioritizes small, and disadvantaged businesses which will increase competition and rebuild our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The SBA is collaborating with an array of federal agencies to take “shopping small” to a whole new level by transforming how the US government—the world’s largest buyer—spends more than $560 billion of America’s tax dollars on goods and services each year.
To assist businesses with planning, strategy, and contracting, the SBA has various partners including local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACS) to assist small businesses. President Biden laid out his vision to open more doors to federal contracting with an ambitious goal: Increase the share going to small, and disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2025. Buying from small, and disadvantaged businesses will leverage the federal government’s purchasing power to reestablish domestic supply chains and American made products – using market growth opportunities to strengthen our nation’s industrial base.
Included in these reforms is an effort to make certain that “category management,” a government-wide initiative to strategically source commonly purchased goods and services, does not shut out small businesses. We want to make it easier for more small businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans, to do business with the federal government. The administration has directed over 40,000 federal contracting officers across government to spend tens of billions of dollars more with small, disadvantaged businesses.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s $1.2 trillion created an enormous opportunity for small construction and service firms. The SBA stands ready to support these businesses with bonding capacity, access to capital, and the ability to subcontract with large businesses to get their fair share of the contracting pie. We must ensure all taxpayer dollars are being used to fortify entrepreneurship, innovation, and domestic supply chains, and in the process strengthening our democracy by creating equitable pathways to the American dream.
Today, we are more committed than ever to ensure the federal government shops small to help our nation build back better following the pandemic. For more information on SBA’s programs and services please visit www.sba.gov and remember to follow us on Twitter @SBArockymtn and @SBA_colorado.
Aikta Marcoulier is the SBA’s Region 8 Administrator based in Denver. She oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.