Minority businesses can expect to begin making real progress by 1982, but even then, their share of the total national economy would amount to about 3 percent, a House panel was told this week
Minority firms had gross business receipts of approximately $30 billion in 1977 in a $2 trillion national economy, about 1.5 percent of the total. By 1982, the minority share is expected to amount to $75 billion, about 3 percent of the projected $2.5 trillion national economy.
"That will demonstrate the begining of real progress" for minority businesses, said C. Robert Kemp, executive director of the Commerce Department's Enterprise.
Kemp, whose agency coordinates all federal planning and programming affecting minority firms, said that nearly 25 oercent of the expected minority business growth will come from federal procurement spending.
He said the government's progress in funneling more money into minority business accounts "was clearly evident" in the last fiscal year when minority firms were given $1.8 billion worth, 2.2 percent, of all federal procurement contracts.
By comparison, minority firms held 1.6 percent of all federal contracts in 1973, 1.4 in 1976 and 1.6 percent again in 1977. The 1978 increase to 2.2 percent represented the highest percentage of federal contracts ever awarded to minority firms, Kemp said.
This year, Kemp said the Carter administration expects to reach its goal of tripling the amount of dollars going to minority firms to $3.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 1977.
But reaching that goal should not "establish a frame of mind throughout the publice and private sector that the job is over" in helping minority businesses, Kemp said. Future targets for minority procurement should be set now, he said.
Kemp is one of five administration officials to appear before the House Tas Force on Minority Business Enterprise, which is monitoring the bureaucracy's use of a law designed to increase minority business participation in federal contracts.
The statute, Public Law 95.507, is a series of amendments to the Small Business Act and Small Business Investment Act of 1958. It took effect last year.
Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (D-Md.) chairman of the task force, said his intention is to make sure that federal agencies won't try to subvert the law through negligence or dicriminatory practices.