Federal contracts for small business: General contractor secures $10 million in federal work

direct steel project
Direct Steel of Crystal Lake starts work at a project to expand the Community Living Center at the Oscar G. Johnson Veteran’s Administration Center in Iron Mountain Michigan.

Small businesses in Illinois received $2.3 billion in federal contracts last fiscal year, part of a record-breaking national total, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s release of the Fiscal Year 2018 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard shows. Overall, $120.8 billion in prime federal contracts – 25.05% of the federal contracting dollars – were awarded to small businesses nationwide.

The value of a federal contract is illustrated by the success of Crystal Lake’s Direct Steel and Construction, a commercial general contracting and construction firm that most recently secured a $10 million federal contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rosemary Swierk, the founder and president of Direct Steel, sought assistance from the SBA and its resource partners, including SCORE, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the College of Lake County, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the Women’s Business Development Center.

Direct Steel, an $8.5 million company today with more than 25% coming from government contracts, was named one of SBA’s 2019 Illinois Rising Star Small Businesses.

The FY 18 national numbers are an increase of nearly $15 billion over the previous fiscal year and mark the sixth consecutive year the federal government exceeded its small business contracting goal.

“These record-breaking national numbers are a win-win, as, along with supplying the government with the goods and services needed to operate, they support our nation’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as their employees and local communities,” SBA’s Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “The accomplishments here in Illinois are a direct result of our continuous government-wide focus on increasing small business contracting opportunities. This focus starts at the top with the President’s commitment to small businesses and funnels through to our field offices’ outreach efforts focused on helping them start, grow and expand.”

“The $2.3 billion in federal contracts that Illinois small businesses secured represents an incredible impact to our economy and supports job creation, innovation, and growth,” SBA’s Illinois District Director Robert Steiner said. “For businesses in Illinois’ rural counties and underserved communities, especially, SBA’s HUBZone and 8(a) Business Development programs offer access to government contracts and invaluable support to businesses as they look to expand and build their skills.”

The measured socio-economic categories also achieved historic highs nationally this year. Small disadvantaged businesses received 9.65%, or $46.5 billion of all small business eligible contracting dollars, the highest percentage since 2016. Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses received $20.6 billion (4.27% of all eligible contracting dollars) and women-owned small businesses received $23 billion of eligible contracting dollars – the highest amount ever. Historically Underutilized Business Zone small businesses received about $10 billion of all eligible funds, representing 2.05%, the highest achievement in the last six years.

In its efforts to help small businesses secure federal contracts, the SBA promotes its programs to procuring federal agencies and small businesses, frequently holding training sessions across the country to educate contracting officers on the requirements for SBA’s 8(a) Business Development, HUBZone, women-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs. It also works closely with the National 8(a) Association, Native American Contractors Association, Native Hawaiian Organization Association, Women Impacting Public Policy, American Express and other national and local organizations on contracting outreach efforts.


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