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The Federal Government has tremendous purchasing power. Putting that purchasing power behind our Nation’s talented small businesses, which employ about half of the population, provides a direct and lasting boost to our economy.

In order to find the ways that we can best work with small businesses here at the Energy Department, we turned to the experts – the small business owners themselves. During the opening day of the 12th Annual U.S. DOE Small Business Conference & Expo Tom D’Agostino , Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, held a discussion with 15 small business owners on ways small businesses could increase their access to the Energy Department.

The small business owners’ ideas covered the procurement process from start to finish. From the drafting of solicitations to strategic sourcing to subcontracting, we need small businesses to be engaged. Listening to the concerns of small businesses is a priority for the White House and the Energy Department. As the Presidential Interagency Taskforce on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses has identified, we need a better equipped, more informed and more accountable acquisition workforce. Hearing directly from small businesses can provide the government with important information and help hold agencies accountable, so the government can meet and exceed small business procurement goals on an ongoing basis.

This week, small businesses will gather in Washington, D.C. at the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s conference honoring National Small Business Week. Themed “empowering entrepreneurs,” the conference will honor successful small businesses and allow us to hear directly from small business owners about their needs. Anyone can attend in person or online. Events during National Small Business Week can be viewed virtually through SBA’s free, live webcasting accessible online at

Over the past two and a half years, President Obama has put new initiatives in place and increased incentives to support small businesses – including 17 tax cuts, improved access to capital and expanded support for high growth businesses – so they can out-compete, and out-innovate the rest of the world. A report released today outlines these accomplishments, and we look forward to working with small businesses like the ones NNSA Administrator D’Agostino met with last week to build upon these.