Economy 1 Dow

Economic development: Economic Development Programs (2011-09)

The efficiency and effectiveness of fragmented economic development programs are unclear.

Year Identified: 2011
Area Number: 9
Area Type: Fragmentation, Overlap & Duplication

3 Total Action(s)

Action 1
Addressed

The Departments of Commerce (Commerce), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) need to further utilize promising practices for enhanced collaboration. The actions that the four agencies should consider include seeking more opportunities for resource-sharing across economic development programs with shared outcomes, and identifying ways to leverage each program's strengths to improve their existing collaborative efforts.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 1, 2017
Progress:

The four agencies and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have taken steps to collaborate more in administering these programs, as GAO suggested in March 2011. In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it established an economic development integration team in fiscal year 2016 to facilitate direct engagement between communities and federal agencies with complementary economic development resources to collaboratively support regional economic development across the nation. EDA added that the team has executed a memoranda of understanding (MOU) with HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development and USDA Rural Development and is working with SBA to collaborate, enhance relationships, and cross-promote resources. USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) noted in March 2017 that it is engaged in several MOUs with other federal agencies that support coordination and collaboration on areas of mutual interest, including a MOU with Commerce's EDA to leverage programs and resources to support regional economic development. In addition, RBS noted that it is coordinating with HUD and others to leverage programs and resources to create healthy, economically vibrant neighborhoods through the development of local food systems. In March 2017, SBA noted that it has engaged in a number of collaborative efforts with the other agencies, including the development of a training module for small construction contractors with HUD enabling them to access performance bonds for HUD-funded construction projects, and a MOU between SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development and USDA to explore opportunities for supporting veteran-owned businesses in agriculture-related sectors. Finally, in November 2016 OMB noted that, in fiscal year 2016, the General Services Administration (GSA) took over the management of BusinessUSA, a federal website developed to make it easier for businesses to access the services and information they need. Through the website, federal agencies are able to increase public awareness of the resources they offer. The one-stop shop website directs customers to federal services that match their requirements (i.e., financing, export assistance, federal contracting), so a customer does not need to visit disparate websites. OMB added that GSA has integrated BusinessUSA's content and services in the USA.gov website. This provides users with a more accessible and centralized one-stop platform for entrepreneurs to access the services that could help them grow. Finally, the BusinessUSA Steering Committee, composed of staff from across several agencies, continues to meet regularly and assemble agency stakeholders to collect feedback and create the strategic vision for moving the tool forward.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Small Business Administration
Action 2
Consolidated or Other

The Departments of Commerce (Commerce), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) need to collect accurate and complete data on program outcomes and use the information to assess each program's effectiveness.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
August 31, 2021
Progress:

GAO is no longer assessing this action separately as it was consolidated under action 2 in the 2012 Support for Entrepreneurs area.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Small Business Administration
Action 3
Addressed

Additional work to assess progress in collaboration and evaluation could identify areas for improvement, consolidation, or elimination. More analysis is needed by the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture, and the Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine the actual amount of duplicative spending in programs that are designed to target similar economic development activities, locations, and applicants.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 6, 2013
Progress:

In January 2012, the administration recommended a broad reorganization of agencies, including economic and business development activities in the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury, as well as SBA. According to the administration's assessment, the existing structure is inefficient and redundant. To address this redundancy, the administration's proposal would consolidate many of its economic development programs. The proposed reorganization, if implemented, could eliminate duplicative spending that may be present.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Management and Budget
Small Business Administration
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