Washington D.C. sets $1.2 billion goal for SBE contracting in FY 2024

January 24, 2024

The nation’s capital has set an ambitious goal to invest $1.2 billion in Small Business Enterprises (SBE) in 2024 through a long-standing initiative known as the DC Green Book.

Supported by the district’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), the DC Green Book was created to serve as a one-stop resource for local small-business owners, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. It includes policy designed to nurture small businesses and provide accessible data about the city’s procurement process.

D.C. first published the Green Book in 2016 with a goal of $317 million in SBE spending. This year, the district is targeting a record $1.2 billion in SBE contract awards, about 7.5% of its $16 billion fiscal year 2024 budget.

“We launched the first Green Book in 2015 as a tool to better leverage D.C. government’s procurement power and to give more Washingtonians a fair shot,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “When we are intentional about working with local businesses, we keep D.C. dollars in D.C.; we also help businesses expand, and when they expand, they train and hire more D.C. residents. When local businesses hire more D.C. residents, those residents can support their families and reinvest that money back into our community.”

Empowering small businesses

Small businesses have struggled in recent years as workers and larger employers shift to hybrid and remote-work economics. The Green Book’s focus is not just a fiscal strategy for helping small businesses but also a robust economic development plan to invigorate the local economy and offer equitable opportunities.

At the heart of the Green Book is its focus on SBEs, a subcategory of the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program, to receive procurement preference when bidding on city contracts. For SBE certification, a business must prove local status, be independently owned and run, conform to U.S. Small Business Administration criteria and stay within DSLBD’s gross receipts limits for the past three years. In addition, D.C. requires at least 35% of all contracts valued at $250,000 or greater to be subcontracted to SBEs unless specific exemption criteria are met.

Businesses interested in contracting with the district can use the Green Book’s Worksheet and contractor resources to find products and services up for bid. This includes contracting guidance and collaboration through the DC Procurement and Technical Assistance program available at Greenbook’s website

Challenging the model

City procurement processes traditionally have revolved around low-bid contracts for fiscal efficiency. However, this approach has often sidelined smaller firms, inadvertently hindering local economic development.

The district’s strategy creates a best-value principle in which contracts are awarded not merely based on cost but on the potential socioeconomic benefits they bring to the community. This can benefit small businesses, which typically reinvest a substantial portion of their revenue back into the local economy, thereby creating a more sustainable and inclusive financial ecosystem.

One of the Greenbook’s purpose is to provide accessible and real-time data about upcoming procurement opportunities and SBE funding goals for 90 district agencies. By having access to this information, businesses can make efficient decisions using the up-to-date information on expenditures, planned acquisitions and agency budgets.

This transparency also helps level the playing field in the procurement process by giving small business knowledge of upcoming contracts that may require adjusting their practices to meet the requirements of products and services similar to their own.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Government Market News Staff

Welcome to Government Market News, your trusted source for in-depth coverage of the U.S. government marketplace. Our dedicated editorial team provides comprehensive insights on contracting opportunities, private-public partnerships, funding programs, and industry trends. As a publication of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., we offer unrivaled expertise to help you navigate this unique marketplace successfully.

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