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Forging Ahead

White House labors to put procurement projects into entrepreneurs' hands.

This story appears in the July 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Officials aren't working hard enough to persuade contractors to subcontract with smaller firms, according to recent guidelines drafted by the White House aimed at boosting small-business participation in federal procurement projects. Although recent SBA data shows subcontracts to small businesses accounted for $61.2 billion out of a $197.5 billion federal procurement pie, the gentle nudge from Deidre Lee, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), is a welcome one for small business.

Lee is encouraging federal procurement officers to adopt four best practices: 1) to establish award programs that recognize prime contractors who promote opportunities for small business as subcontractors, 2) to evaluate subcontracting plans, 3) to use past performance techniques, and 4) to use aggressive goaling techniques. These are only guidelines, however; there's currently no mechanism in place to ensure these practices are used.

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