In fiscal 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded 18 percent of U.S. transactions to small businesses, exceeding its target of 14 percent, according to the agency. This was the fifth year in a row USAID surpassed its small business utilization target. For the third year in a row, USAID earned at least an A grade on the federal government’s small business scorecard which measures how well federal agencies reach their small business contracting and subcontracting goals.
The USAID Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is responsible for monitoring USAID's implementation and execution of small business programs. OSDBU generally defines a small business as “independently owned and operated, not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on government contracts.”
But like other U.S. government agencies, USAID defers to the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish which firms meet the small business classification. In order to make these determinations, SBA sets small business standards by industry and service offering. These standards are typically applied either in terms of the average number of employees a firm claims over the past 12 months or the company’s average annual receipts over the past three years.
So for instance, companies offering management consulting services, human resources consulting services, marketing consulting services and logistics consulting services must not exceed $15 million in average annual receipts over the past three years in order to be classified as a small business. A farm equipment and machinery manufacturer, or electronic computer manufacturer on the other hand, must have under 1,250 employees in order for it to register and bid as a small business.
Alaysa Escandor is a development analyst based in Manila, Philippines. She covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues since 2009. She was a fellow at the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism. Her interests include humanitarian and development aid, health and gender.
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