Hello, I’m NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
This week, NASA is very proud to join with President Obama, the Small Business Administration
and the American people to celebrate Small Business Week. 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 and
maintaining America’s leadership in the global economy. I am especially proud of NASA’s
record of support for the small businesses that are essential to our achievements in
space and here on Earth. The agency has received an “A” on the
SBA scorecard which measures how well federal agencies reach their small business prime
and subcontracting goals. In fiscal year 2013, NASA awarded over $2.7 billion directly to
small businesses and we exceeded our goal by more than 4% with 21.4% of all of our prime
contracts going to small businesses. NASA has increased its small business prime awards
despite decreasing budgets for the past four years.
But it’s not all about money. We know that many small businesses, especially those seeking
to do business with the federal government, need counseling and mentoring in order to
effectively compete and take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. That
is the purpose of NASA’s Mentor-Protégé Program. This program encourages NASA prime
contractors to assist eligible small business protégés so that they can become a part
of the competitive base of contractors that are helping shape the future of space exploration,
scientific and technological discovery, and aeronautics research.
NASA is ushering in a new era of space exploration. We are making strides towards our goal of
a human mission to Mars. We are planning a mission to capture and redirect an asteroid
so our astronauts can visit and bring back samples. We are working with commercial space
companies to return cargo and human launches to American soil. And we are building the
vehicles and perfecting the technologies to enable us to send our astronauts farther into
space than anyone has ever gone before. Small Businesses are essential to everything we
do. I want to thank the small business community for the indispensable role you play, not only
here at NASA, but throughout the nation. And I want to thank NASA’s Office of Small Business
Programs and the Small Business Specialists at each of our centers for your outstanding
achievements and commitment to the small business mission. At NASA small business truly does
make a big difference. Thank you.