New Goldman Sachs and Bipartisan Policy Center Report Reveals Systemic Roadblocks for Small Businesses in Federal Contracting Process

The report reveals that the women-owned small business goal has only been met twice since 1994 and that the HUBZone goal has never been met

In partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices program released a new report detailing the systemic barriers small businesses face during the federal procurement process. The report offers policy recommendations that Congress should consider including in an infrastructure package or other legislation to reform the system.

The report revealed that, over the last 10 years, there has been a 38% decline in the number of small businesses participating as federal contractors. Even more dramatically, the number of small businesses entering the procurement marketplace as new entrants declined by 79% from 2005 to 2019. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices found that 88% of small business owners support changes to the federal procurement process.

Furthermore, while federal agencies have met annual goals of spending 23% of procurement dollars with small businesses for seven consecutive years, the government has generally failed to meet procurement goals for women-owned small businesses and small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones. Since 1994, the federal government has only met its goal of awarding 5% of contracts to women-owned small businesses twice and it has never met the 3% HUBZone goal.

“It’s deeply troubling that the federal government has failed to meet its own goals for small business contracts over the last 20 years,” said Joe Wall, director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices program. “Our report makes clear that significant reforms are needed to ensure the federal contracting process gives small businesses a level playing field to compete and succeed.”

“The Bipartisan Policy Center is proud to partner with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community to raise awareness about this important issue that impacts small businesses and our economy,” said Dane Stangler, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Policy action by Congress and the Administration to reform federal procurement can increase access for small business and strengthen the American industrial base.”

The new report also outlines a number of different policy priorities that can promote greater small business participation in federal contracting, including: expand the breadth of small business participation, increase diversity, and reduce entry barriers; enhance assistance for small businesses to increase competition; improve transparency, accountability, and oversight; and modernize the 8(a) program to streamline the certification process at the beginning and for annual renewal.

The full report with detailed policy recommendations for procurement reform can be found here.


Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for program participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.


Patrick Scanlan

Goldman Sachs & Co.


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