When we say that small business is big business here at NASA, it’s not a slogan, it’s ingrained in our culture. I am especially proud of NASA’s record of support for small businesses, which is essential to our achievements in space and here on Earth.
Which is why I was so pleased today to join Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet at an event unveiling our nation’s federal procurement scorecard for this past year, FY2013. The scorecard outlines our progress toward using small business to achieve our nation’s goals in many areas.
NASA’s SBA Scorecard has moved from “C” to “A” in just three years. We’re not perfect, and in some areas we have a ways to go, especially in meeting our goals with Women-Owned, HUBZone, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small businesses, but we’re headed the right direction. After all, we’re NASA – we’re in the business of shooting for the stars – and learning along the way how we can improve and get better.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They employ about half of all private sector employees. They account for 42% of the total U.S. private payroll and they are incubators of innovation, developing new products and new ways of solving problems that are benefiting communities nationwide and maintaining America’s leadership in the global economy.
This is the first time in 9 years the federal government exceeded the overall 23% goal for small business procurement. I commend the Obama Administration for its commitment to small business and for recognizing how crucial these entrepreneurs are to the health of our economy and for creating new jobs.
At NASA, we also take our commitment to small business very seriously, and I pledge to continue working diligently toward all of our goals. I want to thank and commend Administrator Contreras-Sweet for her dedication and commitment to small businesses –for her work to keep this vital engine of our economy moving forward.
NASA is on a journey to Mars and there are already small businesses there supporting various aspects of the Curiosity rover. As we implement our stepping stone approach to more challenging missions, eventually sending humans to the Red Planet, I know small businesses will be with us all along the way.