Small BusinessSBA Cannot Assess the Success of Its Minority Business Development Program Gao ID: T-RCED-94-278 July 27, 1994
Although the Small Business Administration (SBA) has improved some aspects of its 8(a) business development program, which provides federal contracts to small businesses owned by social and economically disadvantaged persons, SBA is still not in a position to evaluate the program's overall success in enabling minority businesses to compete in the commercial marketplace after they leave the program. The value of 8(a) contracts awarded competitively during fiscal year 1992 was higher than the value of contracts awarded during the preceding year, but the distribution of contracts continued to be concentrated among a very small percentage of firms. Also, SBA could not say whether its revised business plans for 8(a) firms are being reviewed annually, as required by law, or whether the firms are meeting the non-8(a) contract goals to reduce the firms' reliance on program contracts. Finally, the information SBA provided GAO shows that its failure to properly plan the redesign of the program's management information system continues to hamper the implementation of a system of providing SBA managers with basic 8(a) program information.