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Small Business Administration

The second President’s Management Agenda pillar is “service.” We join the federal workforce to serve and the American people expect an effective service.

The public believes that the federal government serves critical roles and, in some areas, performs them well. Yet public trust in the federal government continues to decline and currently sits at near-historic lows. While the federal government’s business is to serve the American people in core mission areas, it has become too bureaucratic and complex to meet the needs of the 21st century. We must take care to ensure that existing government policies and procedures help us to better achieve the Founders’ goal of constitutional self-government.

Federal customers range from small businesses seeking loans, to families receiving disaster support, to veterans owed proper benefits and medical care. They deserve a customer experience that compares to—or exceeds—that of leading private sector organizations, yet most federal services lag behind the private sector. The Executive Branch must develop capabilities to better facilitate end-to-end customer experiences that cross agency boundaries and create faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective interactions. And we are doing just that.

One example is the Small Business Administration’s lender match tool. This online tool matches small business owners with either private sector lenders or SBA loans, helping these entrepreneurs access the capital they need to grow their business and create jobs. 

Take a look. This is the type of work that gets me excited. I spent years in the private sector working to improve services for companies like Bank of America. I entered government service so that I could use my abilities to facilitate change and innovation for the American public. These PMA initiatives represent why I am here doing what I’m doing and there is no shortage of them.

Just take a look at the General Services Administration. They are implementing an online shopping portal allowing federal agencies easier access to commercial products. The Acquisition Gateway helps federal government buyers from all agencies act as one acquisition community. The goal is to achieve acquisition excellence together. This is the modernization of services that we are pursuing.

Take a look at this video.

OPM also plays an important role in the “service” aspect of the PMA. OPM provides:

• Human resources leadership and support to federal agencies;
• Directs human resources and employee management services; 
• Administers retirement benefits;
• Manages healthcare and insurance programs;
• Oversees merit-based and inclusive hiring in the civil service; and, 
• Provides a secure employment process

As you can see, we provide a lot to agencies that allows them to do their job for the good of the country. At the end of the day, the federal government must respond to the world in which citizens live. This means delivering services in modern and responsive ways. We want the American taxpayer to be satisfied with the return on their investment. The President’s Management Agenda is committed to this goal.

If you are interested in learning more about what the PMA has accomplished, I’d encourage you take a look at my blog commemorating the Agenda’s one year anniversary.


I want to share some good news. OPM has been recognized by the Small Business Administration with a rating of “A+” on its Small Business Scorecard for its success in contracting with small businesses. This is the first year OPM has received an “A+” score. OPM’s success is due in no small part to the hard work and dedication of the team in our Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).

Nurturing small business growth has been a major priority for President Obama, and I share the President’s view that small business is “the lifeblood of our economy.” In his time in office, the President has signed 18 tax breaks to bolster business growth and 166,000 small businesses have gotten much-needed loans through community banks, state-run loan programs and the SBA.

OSDBU was created in March 2011 as part of the Small Business Act to ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses have the maximum opportunity to participate in the agency's contracting process. The primary responsibility of OSDBU is to make sure that small businesses are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete for agency contracts and subcontracts.

In the past, that was not always the case. Up until 2012, OPM had made progress, but fell short of its small-business contracting goals. In 2013, OPM implemented a new, comprehensive small business reform strategy with one critical goal in mind: to increase small business competition and expand the use of small businesses on direct contract awards.

The strategy worked. The key was better accountability. We established clear lines of accountability from senior leadership to the contracting specialists. We defined a strategic and comprehensive strategy. That included taking an aggressive approach to redefining contract requirements to ensure small business could fairly participate. We established “smart contracts,” directed towards small businesses. We also provided OPM’s contracting staff with extensive training in small business and data quality. 

OSDBU focused its outreach on organizing conferences, fairs and meetings to help small businesses understand purchasing requirements. It counseled small businesses on what OPM needed from its contractors. OSDBU also met with interested small business owners to discuss various ways to market their services, and how to respond to a “request for proposal and request for information.”

OSDBU has repeatedly stressed the importance of tying performance measures for contracting officers to their success in creating opportunities for small business owners. Most importantly, people were held accountable for meeting OPM’s goals for doing business with small and disadvantaged businesses.

I am very proud of OPM’s A+ on the Small Business Scorecard. But I’m even more proud of all of the hard work OPM employees did to make it happen!


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