Saint Augustine, FL, August 27, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- President Obama’s timely statement that "It is essential that we provide our Nation's small businesses with maximum practicable opportunity to participate in Federal Government contracting” was welcomed news. And so was Sen. Landrieu’s comment, “I intend to move forward from this announcement with vigorous oversight to demand that all small businesses - including minority, women and veteran-owned firms - are on equal footing to receive their fair share of these contracts.” What was unacceptable, however, were the padded figures Federal Agencies gave SBA about their achievements in meeting their statutory goals.
Federal Agencies have continued their established practice to unfairly take credit for small business contracts awarded to large businesses or to ‘fronts’ for large businesses, a fact the SBA IG acknowledged as far back as 2005. Regardless, the SBA FY08 Goaling Report is off, by at least $3.1B in small business awards, which had gone to 47 multi-billion dollar firms. The revised new total reduces the SBA figures to 20.7% and this amount does not even take into account billions in fraud and abuse that went uninvestigated and unreported.
“There is a dysfunctional bureaucratic culture that abuses the statutory rights of small businesses and restricts their ability to compete,” said Raul Espinosa, Founder of The Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA) and President of FitNet, a minority-owned business which he claims has lost in excess of $3M in small business contracts due to alleged fraud and unfair procurement practices. Espinosa has published his experiences in White Papers which detail Contracting Abuse by the Air Force, Why the Size Protest System does not Work and How to End the Abusive Contracting Practices. He recently filed petitions with several OIGs and with the Senate Small Business Committee for fraud and abuse investigations. In 2007, Espinosa also established a Think Tank at The University of North Florida (UNF) to work with academician on what has become The Umbrella Initiative.
“The solution to the Uncle Sam dilemma lies at creating partnerships with bureaucrats, which is a concept The Umbrella Initiative spouses,” said Dr. Henry Thomas, Director of the FPA Think Tank at UNF. “The Umbrella Initiative’s goals are to double the number of minority and women-owned businesses doing business with the government by 2020 and to establish a Minority Procurement Center at UNF – to work on solutions for leveling the playing field,” Dr. Thomas said.