Remarks of Administrator Samantha Power at USAID’s Annual Small Business Conference

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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Good morning, everyone. I’m delighted to welcome all of you to this year’s Small Business Conference—an opportunity to expand and reinvigorate our partnerships with small businesses, just like yours, to improve lives around the world.

Small businesses are a vital engine for ingenuity and truly inclusive economic development. You bring fresh ideas to the fore, you create jobs and opportunities for local economies, and you contribute locally-grounded expertise that elevates how we work in a wide variety of environments.

But we also recognize that, throughout much of USAID’s history, a majority of projects have been awarded to the same select group of large contractors—a reality that holds back healthy competition, limits our exposure to new approaches, robs small businesses of the chance to gain valuable experience, and doesn’t make the best possible use of valuable taxpayer dollars.

So that’s why across every Bureau, Office, and Mission, we set dedicated annual goals to maximize our partnership opportunities for small businesses, ranging from women- and veteran-owned companies to small disadvantaged businesses. I’m committed to moving beyond these goals to further diversify our programs, bring in a wider range of perspectives, and tap into insights that benefit the people we serve.

Throughout the day, our team will dive into all the creative tools and approaches that we’re pursuing in order to increase transparency and the diversity of USAID’s partners across all of our work.

From an in-depth chat with senior USAID officials, to a series of tailored breakout discussions with our staff from country Missions and Washington, this conference is dedicated to providing you with the information and resources you need to effectively partner with us. But it’s also an opportunity for us to hear directly from each of you.

We want to hear your candid feedback and recommendations. Tell us about any barriers you may encounter when seeking to work with us, and what we can do to eliminate those barriers moving forward.

We strive to make it as straightforward as possible to partner with us, because we recognize that expanding the diversity of our partners is critical to successfully and cost-effectively accomplish our mission.

Whether it’s fighting the COVID pandemic, protecting our planet from the effects of climate change, or defending democracy and human rights, your contributions not only change the lives of the millions we serve around the world, but also spur our economy here at home in the United States.

Thank you for joining us today, and we’re eager to partner with you to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges—together.

Last updated: September 30, 2022

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