Most of the president’s economic agenda for the year has been left wanting in Congress. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

A review of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a special focus on Washington.

At long last: The federal government has for the first time since 2005 kept its promise to direct nearly a quarter of all contracting dollars to small businesses, officials announced late last week.

Coming up short: Six months ago, the president outlined a number of ambitious goals during the State of the Union, focusing much of his attention on the economy and businesses. Not much has happened since then. (OSB)

Cooling off:July wasn’t a particularly slow hiring month for small businesses, which added 84,000 jobs, according to the latest report from ADP. It just wasn’t anywhere close to the blistering pace in June. (OSB)

When we were small: John Mackey had just turned 25 years old when he opened a small vegetarian food market in Austin, Texas. Here’s how he built Whole Foods into a natural and organic foods empire. (OSB)

Summer school: Seven student-created companies from Georgetown’s summer start-up program pitched their ventures earlier this week at 1776, including one pretty nifty new ice cream company. (WP)

Women’s bill: Sen. Maria Cantwell last week introduced legislation that would double funding for Women’s Business Centers and increase contracting opportunities for women-owned companies. (MICRO)

Too close to call: Many of today’s small business owners might think that phone calls are dated, pushing many to skip on the added expense of hiring extra staff or a call center. But perhaps that isn’t always wise. (FOR)

Save us, please: The president of the embattled Export Import Bank, which helps U.S. firms sell their goods overseas, last week reiterated the importance of his agency as lawmakers consider getting rid of it. (HILL)

Not up to us: The National Labor Relations Board has decided that McDonald’s and other franchises should share responsibility with franchisees for improving working conditions. McDonald’s adamantly disagrees. (WP)

Fighting back: Obama has signed another executive order, this one requiring businesses to disclose any labor law violations before receiving federal contracts. Some business groups are less than pleased. (TBJ)

Nabbed by the bird: Twitter last week acquired a pair of New York-based upstarts, buying image search firm Madbits eary in the week and then adding password manager Mitro on Friday. (PCM)

Bonus: How to survive a start-up internship (WSJ)

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.

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