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The Federal Procurement Center – under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) – has a critical mission to support the 9.7 Million Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) throughout the Nation in gaining access to and succeeding in performing Government contracts.

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What Works When Government Is Open Government

In an era where transparency, accountability, and public engagement are more important than ever, the concept of Open Government stands as a beacon of hope and efficiency for enabling government to reach its end game, which is to keep this country safe, maximize productivity, job creation, workforce development, and full employment.  The commitment to an Open Government aims to foster a more accessible, effective, and responsive Government by promoting the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration. As Founder of Open Government TV – we launched OGTV to help bridge an increasing trust between government and the people.  However, the journey towards a truly Open Government has been historically fraught with challenges, especially in the context of Government shutdowns, the impact of a closed government on small businesses, essential services, and the Federal acquisition community. This article explores the significance of Open Government practices and highlights examples of some of the hurdles created by Government shutdowns.  As the nation seeks to scale up its modernization strategies, operate government efficiently, to protect our nation’s citizens, and to inspire innovative initiatives to enhance Federal contracting support for small businesses, this article seeks to inspire a sustained commitment to an Open Government, and a vibrant job creation economy.

Government Shutdown: A Ripple Effect on Federal Contracting

Government shutdowns greatly impact Federal contracting, disrupting the flow of goods and services essential for the functioning of various Government departments and agencies. During a shutdown, contracts may be delayed or canceled, leading to financial losses for contractors' reduction in the workforce, and a slowdown in Government operations. Small businesses, in particular, bear the brunt of these shutdowns, as they often lack the financial resilience to withstand prolonged periods of uncertainty and inactivity.

On Small Business

Small businesses, the backbone of the American economy, face significant challenges during Government shutdowns. These entities rely heavily on Federal contracts for revenue, and a shutdown can lead to delayed payments, halted projects, and an overall climate of financial instability. The ripple effects extend beyond the immediate financial impact, potentially leading to job losses, reduced economic growth, and a loss of trust in the Government as a reliable partner.

On Essential Services

Essential services, critical for the well-being and security of the public, also suffer during Government shutdowns. These services include national security, public safety, and health care, among others. A shutdown can compromise the quality and availability of these services, putting the public at risk and undermining confidence in the Government's ability to meet its most basic obligations.

Challenges of a Continuing Resolution for the Acquisition Community

Continuing resolutions, temporary measures to fund the Government when appropriations bills are not passed, pose their own set of challenges for the acquisition community. These resolutions often maintain funding at previous year levels, without accounting for inflation or the evolving needs of Government agencies. This uncertainty complicates long-term planning and contract negotiations, leading to inefficiencies and delays in the procurement process.

Innovating Federal Contracting in 2024

The MBDA Federal Procurement Center , in collaboration with its Centers around the country is committed to adopting innovative strategies to mitigate the impact of Government shutdowns and continuing resolutions on Federal contracting and small businesses. Our approach focuses on enhancing transparency, increasing solution driven engagement with small businesses, and leveraging technology to streamline the procurement process from identification to awarded transaction. Here are some of the initiatives we are implementing:

  • Enhanced Transparency: By providing real-time on-demand updates on the status of Government funding and potential impacts on contracting, we aim to foster a climate of trust and predictability.
  • Small Business Engagement: We are increasing our outreach to small businesses, offering training and resources to help them navigate the complexities of Federal contracting.
  • Technology Integration: Leveraging cutting-edge technology to simplify the procurement process, we are striving to make it more accessible for small businesses and more efficient for Government agencies.


What Can Be Done in the Next 30 Days

To immediately address the challenges faced by the acquisition community and small businesses, the MBDA Federal Procurement Center recommends that Government contracting stakeholders implement the following steps:

  • Conduct a Risk Assessment: Identify contracts and services most at risk during a potential shutdown and develop contingency plans.
  • Enhance Communication: Improve communication channels between Government agencies and contractors to ensure timely updates and support.
  • Support Small Businesses: Provide targeted support to small businesses, including financial assistance and guidance on navigating Government contracts.
  • Advocate for Policy Changes: Work with policymakers to advocate for changes that reduce the adverse impact of shutdowns and Continuing Resolutions on Federal contracting.



The journey towards an Open Government, particularly in the context of Federal contracting, is complex but essential for building a more efficient, transparent, and responsive Government. As we navigate the various challenges of Government over the months ahead in 2024, and strive to support small businesses and essential services, the MBDA Federal Procurement Center remains committed to innovation and collaboration.

We invite you to join us in this endeavor. Visit our website at www.mbdafpcenter.com to learn more about our initiatives, access resources, and become part of a community dedicated to transforming Federal contracting for the better. Together, we can ensure that Government remains open, accessible, and effective for all.

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