SBA revitalizes training program to help small businesses win federal contracts

The SBA has rebranded its 7(j) training program under the title "Empower to Grow," giving businesses more resources to win federal contracts

The SBA has rebranded its 7(j) training program under the title
SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is rebranding its 7(J) Management and Technical Assistance Program under the new title “Empower to Grow” while also improving the initiative through additional support, new services, and greater reach.

The Empower to Grow program will continue to deliver its original services but with changes that allow for more accessibility and efficiency. The SBA is also offering new features and upgrades as part of the initiative. These include:

1. Personalized, one-on-one training sessions to educate business owners on the government contract bidding process.

2. A new and improved version of the Federal Market Acceleration Program, a three-month, in-depth course on government contracting taught by experts.

3. A “master class” establishing techniques and providing resources to help businesses compete for government contracts.

4. Networking events with federal agencies and frequent government contractors.

5. A bidding platform that will allow businesses to view and compete for state and federal contracts.

6. Multilingual educators to provide assistance to business owners from all backgrounds and regions.

In Fiscal Year 2023, small businesses participating in the SBA’s Empower to Grow program submitted 3,700 bids for federal contracts. Roughly 60% of those bids were successful, with a final tally of 2,200 awarded contracts. Over 6,000 small businesses took part in the initiative, and firms receiving training reported an average increase of 45% in their annual revenue growth.

With these improvements, the SBA is hoping to improve outreach to diverse and underserved communities. In a press release announcing the revitalized Empower to Grow program, the administration noted that federal contracting money awarded to minority groups rose by billions of dollars between 2021 and 2022. However, the agency realizes that more effort is needed to improve equity in the government bidding system. “We have made significant progress with a rise in contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses,” remarked SBA administration Isabel Casillas Guzman, “but there is more work to do to reverse the longstanding disparities, and the SBA’s Empower to Grow will be a critical resource supporting that work.”

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