Small businesses won a record $96.8 billion in federal prime contracts in fiscal year 2009, an increase of more than $3 billion from fiscal year 2008, but still fell somewhat short of the federal government’s 23 percent goal for small business contracting.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s fourth annual small business procurement scorecard showed that the dollar amount represented 21.89 percent of all federal spending – an improvement over FY2008. Additionally, performance in each of the government’s socioeconomic subcategories increased for FY2009.

“Small businesses received a record $96.8 billion in federal contracts in 2009,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a statement. “There was an increase in both dollars and contracting share for every small business category. This represents real progress, but not enough. We must reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the 23 percent goal is met and exceeded.”

The American Small Business League, which advocates for small business contracting, disputed the SBA’s report. The group maintains that a recent evaluation of FY 2009 small business contracting data showed that the actual percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses is closer to 5 percent. In June, the ASBL conducted a review of the top 100 recipients of federal small business contracts for FY 2009. Within its sample, the ASBL identified 60 large firms that received 64.5 percent of the total dollars the government claimed to have awarded to small businesses.

The ASBL also identified a series of Fortune 500 corporations and other large firms in the government’s 2009 contracting data. Recipients of small business contracts included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, British Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Booz Allen Hamilton, Thales Communications, General Dynamics and Dell.

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