Small businesses air regulatory concerns at SBA roundtable
BRIAN CASTRO, the national ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration, listened to the concerns of local small-business owners at the Regulatory Fairness Roundtable Tuesday. Top issues discussed at the event included the challenges small businesses face securing government contracts, the impact of state regulations on the bottom line, and anticipated changes to federal regulations.
WARWICK – Advocates for small business in Rhode Island got the ear of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national ombudsman Tuesday to bring up concerns about the impact of federal regulations on local companies.
“With respect to contracting, the president has made contracting to small businesses a priority across federal agencies, and as a result, we’re making real progress toward reaching no less than 23 percent of all federal contracts going to small-business owners,” SBA National Ombudsman Brian Castro said at the Regulatory Fairness Roundtable.
The event, held Tuesday at the New England Institute of Technology, drew about 40 representatives of small businesses, legislators, and state and federal agencies.
“One issue of concern has been the Department of Defense bundling contracts,” said SBA Rhode Island District Director Mark Hayward. “Bundling is putting many parts of the project under one contract, and that can exclude some small businesses because they’re not able to provide all the requirements of the contract.”
John Wilkinson, director of operations for the Middletown office of McLean, Va.-based Research and Development Solutions Inc., said his company has seen increased support for contracts to small businesses. Research and Development solutions employs about 60 people and bids on contracts for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport.
Other issues raised by owners of Rhode Island businesses included the impact on the bottom line caused by state regulations on child care facilities that receive federal funding, and anticipated changes in federal regulations that allow small businesses to team up to bid on government contracts.
“As we keep working effectively together, we are going to make more progress in seeing the federal government join in with our efforts,” said Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts in remarks at the forum.
“I take a common-sense approach to solving problems, and I think we need to bring the common sense solutions you know from working in your businesses into government regulations,” said Roberts. “Solutions need to be appropriate and practical.”