Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–October 18, 2007–The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the nation’s largest advocate for over 2 million Hispanic owned businesses, applauded the passage of the Small Business Contracting Procurement Improvements Act (SBCPI) of 2007. The bill passed by a vote of 21 to 4 in the House Small Business Committee.
“Today, the Small Business Committee passed an important measure that increases opportunities for small firms in the federal marketplace,” said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “The support of USHCC was crucial in ensuring this legislation passed with strong provisions for our nation’s minority and underrepresented entrepreneurs. This is a pivotal step forward for the nation’s small businesses and I thank the members of USHCC for their involvement”
USHCC spearheaded an effort by a cross-section of the minority business and civil rights communities in urging House Committee members to pass the SBCPI Act without the Akin Amendment. Organizations joining the USHCC included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the Latin American Management Association (LAMA).
The SBCPI Act included many improvements to the SBA 8(a) program, the single most important vehicle for minority business participation in federal contracting, and established to build strong companies. Since its inception, the 8(a) program has contributed to the development of over 20,000 firms over the past two decades, and these firms have received almost $100 billion in federal contracts. One of the provisions in this legislation increases “net worth limits,” which are a key determinate in establishing a firm’s acceptance into the SBA 8(a) program.
Rep. Akin had proposed to offer an amendment to strike the increase in the “net worth limits,” but was ultimately withdrawn. If the amendment had been added to the bill, the current practice of limiting participation in the 8(a) program to the smallest firms would have excluded many small businesses from much-need contract opportunities. The average failure rate of all small businesses is almost 70 percent during the first 8 years of business.
“We congratulate members of the House Small Business Committee for passage of the bill, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez for her leadership on the issue,” said Michael L. Barrera, USHCC CEO and President. “Improvements in the SBCPI Act are critically important to the minority business community, and will ensure that the federal marketplace is more competitive and diverse, and therefore offer the federal government and taxpayers a better value in procurement and services contracts.”
Findings from the SBA Office of Advocacy, found that although minorities make up 32% of the population in this country, they constitute only 18% of all businesses. In addition, according to the Minority Business Development Agency at the U.S. Department of Commerce, in analyzing the same 2002 census data, noted that, although minority firms continued to grow at a fast pace during the five-year period of the census survey, the average gross receipts for these firms dropped by 16%. It is clear, therefore, that small minority businesses need additional assistance to close the economic gap.
At slightly over 4 million firms, minority businesses represent almost 20% of all firms in the country generating nearly $700 billion in annual revenues and employ almost 5 million workers.”
“The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce thanks the members of the House Small Business committee for the passage of this important bill,” adds David C. Lizárraga, USHCC Board Chair. “The USHCC strives to enhance the growth of local Hispanic chambers through the provision of entrepreneurial resources, and continue the needed support to make small businesses more competitive. USHCC will work to continuously improve our ability to meet the needs of our chambers and the Hispanic business community.”
Over 9,000 firms are currently participating in the 8(a) program. More than half of all federal minority business contracting is accomplished through the 8(a) program. Despite these impressive statistics revealing the importance of the minority business community and the importance of the 8(a) program, the program has not been revamped since 1988. As Chairwoman Velazquez has indicated repeatedly in recent months, that is a period spanning almost two decades.
For more information about the Small Business Contracting Procurement Improvements Act of 2007, log on to http://www.house.gov/smbiz/.
About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of more than two million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, which earn more than $350 billion annually. It also serves as the umbrella organization for 200 local Hispanic chambers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information about the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, please visit the USHCC Web page at http://www.ushcc.com/about on USHCC’s information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of release, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact USHCC’s Communications Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.ushcc.com/contact.html.