Representative Kweisi Mfume, Vice Chair of Committee on Small Business, Discusses Challenges Facing Small Businesses in Roundtable with Small Business Contractors in Baltimore

November 30, 2021
Press Release

BALTIMORE– Today, Representative Kweisi Mfume participated in a small business roundtable at East Baltimore Historical Library. The conversation was hosted by Trident Builders founder and principal Brendan McCluskey and included Cheo Hurley of THG Companies LLC, Barnett Carroll of Aegis Mechanical Corporation, Andra Cain of Cain Contracting, Jeff Hargrave of Mahogany Inc., and Beverly Williams of Sue-Anns Office Supply, who are all members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community. They discussed the challenges small business owners are facing on the road to recovery — including federal procurement, inflationary challenges, and supply chain shortages.

The local business owners expressed the unique difficulties small businesses face in the government procurement process, by which the US Federal Government and Maryland State Government purchase goods and services. The visit comes as the number of small businesses providing products and services to the federal government has fallen 38% from 2010 to 2019. Even more dramatically, the number of new small business entrants into the procurement marketplace declined by 79% from 2005 to 2019.

Last month, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices released new survey data showing that small businesses are still struggling and revealed that 92% of respondents believe it is important for the Biden Administration to prioritize policies that level the playing field for small businesses. 82% support President Biden’s July 9th executive order that directs federal agencies to promote greater competition through their procurement and spending decisions to increase opportunities for small businesses. Additionally, only 31% of small businesses are confident they could access capital if they needed it. Nearly 85% of small businesses have seen an increase in operating costs, and 80% of small businesses say that workforce challenges are hurting their bottom line.
“Maryland small businesses have kept our economy thriving and the continued resilience of these entrepreneurs is carrying our state and country through the pandemic. That’s why I’m committed to championing our small businesses not only in my congressional district but also throughout the State of Maryland,” said Representative Mfume, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure. “The federal procurement process must be made more accessible to small businesses.  I am particularly proud that the Minority Business Development Agency has now been made permanent as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  I will continue to advocate for small business support and resources on the road to recovery.”

“I’m grateful that Representative Mfume took the time to meet with Baltimore small business owners like me,” said Brendan McCluskey, founder and principal of Trident Builders and a member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community. “Challenges with small business access to federal procurement, rising inflation, and the supply chain shortage have devastating consequences for small businesses. We’re struggling to recover, so we need the help of elected leaders. Alongside the 10KSBV community, we’ll continue to voice small business priorities.”

Recent national surveys and reports on access to capital and procurement reform from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices have shown that small businesses face one challenge after another. From concerns about inflation, increasing costs of operating their businesses, and challenges accessing capital, to obstacles retaining and hiring employees and insufficient resources for health care, child care, and mental health, small businesses are struggling.

“We were excited to convene this meeting with Congressman Mfume and a group of rockstar small business owners and Voices community members,” said Matt Rhodes, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices Mid-Atlantic Regional Director.  “Today’s discussion allowed Baltimore small business owners to discuss key policy priorities that will bolster Maryland’s economy and local communities.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices “Road to Recovery” is a cross-country series of bipartisan events connecting elected officials with small business owners. Participating elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels listen and learn from small business owners directly about the challenges they are facing.