Empower to Grow, a Revitalization of the 7(j) Training Program

Empower to Grow, a Revitalization of the 7(j) Training Program 1200 329 Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)

Empower to Grow, a Revitalization of the 7(j) Training Program

WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses, announced a slate of major improvements to the implementation of the agency’s popular 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance program. These changes – launched under a new name, Empower to Grow (E2G) – include significant upgrades to the program’s core services and are designed to deliver on the SBA’s commitment under the Biden-Harris Administration to advance equity in federal procurement.

“Small business growth creates jobs while strengthening communities and our economy – which is why the Biden-Harris Administration continues to prioritize equity and a level playing field so all small business owners, including those from disadvantaged communities, can successfully compete for over $700 billion in small business-eligible federal contracts,” said Administrator Guzman. “We’ve launched Empower to Grow to revitalize our 7(j) program with improved coaching, training, and technology tools to get more disadvantaged businesses contract-ready and build a diversified supplier base – creating competition, innovation, and strong performance in federal spending. We have made significant progress with a rise in contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, but there is more work to do to reverse the longstanding disparities, and the SBA’s Empower to Grow will be a critical resource supporting that work.”

The launch of the new and improved E2G program comes as the SBA releases new data detailing the level of federal contracts going to small disadvantaged businesses broken down by race and ethnicity. The data, from 2021 and 2022, shows small businesses in nearly every demographic category are receiving record-breaking federal contracting dollars under the Biden-Harris Administration, with more work to be done to eliminate persistent disparities in federal contracting equity.

Upgrades to the Empower to Grow program will include:

  • Enhancement of customized 1:1 training tailored to develop the critical skillset needed to win government contracts.
  • Launch of the enhanced Federal Market Acceleration Program (FedMAP), a three-month training program in government contracting led by government business development experts.
  • Launch of a federal contractor master class providing new tools and techniques to accelerate small businesses competing for contracts including Sources Sought and Request for Information requirements.
  • Integration of networking and matchmaking events with government agencies and prime contractors.
  • Bidding technology for 8(a) firms to receive, review, and respond to over $2 trillion of State and Local bid opportunities.
  • Multilingual counselors fluent in Spanish and other languages to ensure outreach and accessibility in all states and territories.

In Fiscal Year 2023, small businesses participating in the 7(j) program submitted 3,700 bids for federal contracts, and 2,200 of those bids were awarded contracts—a win rate of 60%. More than 6,000 small businesses participated in the program and, on average, firms that received training self-reported that their percentage growth in annual revenue had increased by 45%.

Today’s announcement adds to the SBA’s release of FY21 and FY22 federal contracting data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, which shows that small businesses in every demographic category analyzed are seeing an increase in federal contracting dollars under the Biden-Harris Administration. 

FY22 Federal Contracting Dollars to Minority-Owned Small Businesses:

Demographic Category FY22 Federal Contracting Dollars Increase from FY21 Federal Contracting Dollars
Black Americans $9.5 billion $490 million
Hispanic Americans $10.6 billion $330 million
Asian Americans $7.5 billion $540 million
Subcontinent Asian Americans $10.2 billion $750 million
Native Americans $19 billion $1.62 billion

As the share of federal contracts going to small businesses hit record highs, the percentage of federal contract dollars awarded to Black-owned, Hispanic-owned, Asian American-owned, and Subcontinent Asian American-owned businesses remained consistent from FY21 to FY22 – meaning these overall gains were felt across the board. As our nation sees an increasingly diverse demographic of small business owners, it is imperative that the SBA work to attract and develop a diverse supplier base to maintain competition and innovation aligned with the agency’s founding mission. The SBA will continue to work across the federal government to ensure that small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) see not only a continued increase in contracting dollars awarded, but growth in their percentage participation to reflect this changing face of entrepreneurship and the federal supply chain.

In 2021, President Biden set an overall goal of awarding 15% of federal prime contracting to small disadvantaged businesses by fiscal year 2025, representing a 50% increase from spending on these businesses when he first took office. The 8(a) program has helped achieve historic progress toward this goal – under President Biden, federal agencies have achieved record levels of spending on contracts with small businesses overall and with SDBs specifically. The federal government’s small business prime contracting program supported the creation of 727,800 jobs nationwide in fiscal year 2022 alone.

For more information about the Empower to Grow (E2G) Program, visit:  http://www.sba.gov/E2G.

Article Courtesy of the SBA