Economic Development

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Open Recommendations

Tribal Economic Development: Action is Needed to Better Understand the Extent of Federal Support

GAO-22-105215
Aug 30, 2022
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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Commerce The Secretary of Commerce should establish an organizational structure and assign responsibilities for the Office of Native American Business Development. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Commerce The Director of Commerce's Office of Native American Business Development, in coordination with other relevant federal agencies and entities, should create, maintain, and share a repository of information on economic development programs across federal agencies that tribal entities can access, and should assist tribal entities in identifying programs best suited to their needs. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Commerce The Director of Commerce's Office of Native American Business Development, in coordination with tribes, should establish a plan for periodically publicly reporting the amount of economic development assistance provided by Commerce to tribal entities and using that information to identify opportunities to improve assistance to tribal entities. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Director of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations, in coordination with tribes, should establish a plan for periodically analyzing and publicly reporting the amount of economic development assistance provided to tribal entities by USDA and using that analysis to identify opportunities to improve assistance to tribal entities. This could include leveraging methods already used by specific USDA program offices such as Rural Development (Recommendation 4)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Small Business Administration The Assistant Administrator of SBA's Office of Native American Affairs, in coordination with tribes, should establish a plan for periodically analyzing and publicly reporting the amount of economic development assistance provided by SBA to tribal entities and using that analysis to identify opportunities to improve assistance to tribal entities. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Economic Development: Opportunities Exist for Further Collaboration among EDA, HUD, and USDA

GAO-21-579
Jul 30, 2021
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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Economic Development Administration The Assistant Secretary of Economic Development at EDA should, in collaboration with HUD, revisit the two agencies' interagency agreement on community and economic development planning to align their collaborative efforts based on current priorities and determine to what extent USDA should be included in the agreement. (Recommendation 1)
Open
This recommendation is an action identified in GAO's 2022 annual Duplication and Cost Savings report. EDA agreed with the recommendations. As of March 2022, EDA stated that its existing agreement was limited to a specific task and therefore EDA may address the recommendations through a different interagency agreement or other document, action, or policy. EDA plans to explore whether a refresh of the interagency agreement and expansion to include USDA is appropriate and work with HUD to add progress monitoring metrics to the agreement, if applicable. EDA also provided examples of general efforts to collaborate with HUD and USDA, such as under its American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act programs and coordinated disaster recovery. More specific to economic development, according to EDA, it had begun initiating a working group with HUD and USDA on Interagency Place Based Initiatives that will provide a renewed and regular working forum to identify and implement further opportunities for cross agency collaboration and actions that support the economic and community development mission of the three agencies. EDA also mentioned the Interagency Policy Committees on Urban Equitable Development and on Rural Prosperity, respectively, will continue to explore policies and actions that can further advance outcome driven collaboration and enhanced resource coordination among federal economic development programs. To fully implement the recommendation, EDA will need to finalize its plan and procedures for identifying opportunities to collaborate on economic development planning based on its current priorities and identify ways to formalize any agreements and monitor progress of the collaboration. By incorporating leading practices in collaboration, EDA and the other agencies can help grantees and local communities better manage overlapping efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning, which can reduce administrative and planning burden for local communities while also assisting these communities to better address their economic development needs. We will continue to monitor the agencies' progress in implementing our recommendation.
Economic Development Administration The Assistant Secretary of Economic Development at EDA should, in collaboration with HUD, monitor progress toward achieving outcomes of the two agencies' interagency agreement on community and economic development planning. (Recommendation 2)
Open
This recommendation is an action identified in GAO's 2022 annual Duplication and Cost Savings report. EDA agreed with the recommendations. As of March 2022, EDA stated that its existing agreement was limited to a specific task and therefore EDA may address the recommendations through a different interagency agreement or other document, action, or policy. EDA plans to explore whether a refresh of the interagency agreement and expansion to include USDA is appropriate and work with HUD to add progress monitoring metrics to the agreement, if applicable. EDA also provided examples of general efforts to collaborate with HUD and USDA, such as under its American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act programs and coordinated disaster recovery. More specific to economic development, according to EDA, it had begun initiating a working group with HUD and USDA on Interagency Place Based Initiatives that will provide a renewed and regular working forum to identify and implement further opportunities for cross agency collaboration and actions that support the economic and community development mission of the three agencies. EDA also mentioned the Interagency Policy Committees on Urban Equitable Development and on Rural Prosperity, respectively, will continue to explore policies and actions that can further advance outcome driven collaboration and enhanced resource coordination among federal economic development programs. To fully implement the recommendation, EDA will need to finalize its plan and procedures for identifying opportunities to collaborate on economic development planning based on its current priorities and identify ways to formalize any agreements and monitor progress of the collaboration. By incorporating leading practices in collaboration, EDA and the other agencies can help grantees and local communities better manage overlapping efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning, which can reduce administrative and planning burden for local communities while also assisting these communities to better address their economic development needs. We will continue to monitor the agencies' progress in implementing our recommendation.
Department of Housing and Urban Development The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at HUD should, in collaboration with EDA, revisit the two agencies' interagency agreement on community and economic development planning to align their collaborative efforts based on current priorities and determine to what extent USDA should be included in the agreement. (Recommendation 3)
Open
This recommendation is an action identified in GAO's 2022 annual Duplication and Cost Savings report. HUD generally agreed with the recommendations. As of September 2021, HUD stated that it planned to revise its agreement with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and formalize its current collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). In addition, HUD plans for the revised MOU to reflect the current administration's priority of economic recovery from the pandemic needs. Additionally, HUD told us that it is engaged in a number of collaborative efforts with USDA, which would benefit from codification in a MOU. To fully implement the recommendation, HUD will need to finalize its plan and procedures for identifying opportunities to collaborate on economic development planning based on its current priorities and identify ways to formalize any agreements and monitor progress of the collaboration. By incorporating leading practices in collaboration, HUD and the other agencies can help grantees and local communities better manage overlapping efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning, which can reduce administrative and planning burden for local communities while also assisting these communities to better address their economic development needs. We will continue to monitor the agencies' progress in implementing our recommendation.
Department of Housing and Urban Development The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at HUD should, in collaboration with EDA, monitor progress toward achieving outcomes of the two agencies' interagency agreement on community and economic development planning. (Recommendation 4)
Open
This recommendation is an action identified in GAO's 2022 annual Duplication and Cost Savings report. HUD generally agreed with the recommendations. As of September 2021, HUD stated that it planned to revise its agreement with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and formalize its current collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). In addition, HUD plans for the revised MOU to reflect the current administration's priority of economic recovery from the pandemic needs. Additionally, HUD told us that it is engaged in a number of collaborative efforts with USDA, which would benefit from codification in a MOU. To fully implement the recommendation, HUD will need to finalize its plan and procedures for identifying opportunities to collaborate on economic development planning based on its current priorities and identify ways to formalize any agreements and monitor progress of the collaboration. By incorporating leading practices in collaboration, HUD and the other agencies can help grantees and local communities better manage overlapping efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning, which can reduce administrative and planning burden for local communities while also assisting these communities to better address their economic development needs. We will continue to monitor the agencies' progress in implementing our recommendation.
Department of Agriculture The Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA should work with EDA and HUD to identify opportunities to include USDA in the agencies' collaborative efforts on community and economic development strategic planning. (Recommendation 5)
Open
This recommendation is an action identified in GAO's 2022 annual Duplication and Cost Savings report. USDA generally agreed with the recommendation. In November 2021, USDA provided examples of general collaboration efforts between USDA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and EDA. However, to fully implement the recommendation, USDA will need to finalize its plan and procedures for identifying opportunities to collaborate on economic development planning based on its current priorities and identify ways to formalize any agreements and monitor progress of the collaboration. By incorporating leading practices in collaboration, USDA and the other agencies can help grantees and local communities better manage overlapping efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning, which can reduce administrative and planning burden for local communities while also assisting these communities to better address their economic development needs. We will continue to monitor the agencies' progress in implementing our recommendation.

Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development: USAID Needs to Develop a Targeting Process and Improve the Reliability of Its Monitoring

GAO-21-269
Mar 30, 2021
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6 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to establish a method to identify the total funding subject to the WEEE Act's requirements in order to develop a process that provides reasonable assurance of compliance with the Act's requirements for targeting assistance to the very poor and women. (Recommendation 1)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to provide information and guidance to bureaus and missions on their roles in meeting the agency's targeting requirement regarding the very poor. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to establish a definition for enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women in order to develop a process that provides reasonable assurance of compliance with the WEEE Act's requirements for targeting assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women. (Recommendation 3)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to disaggregate MSME data to distinguish among micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in order to develop a process that provides reasonable assurance of compliance with the WEEE Act's requirements for targeting assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women. (Recommendation 4)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to develop a methodology to ensure that it collects data from all relevant missions and bureaus with micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise assistance. (Recommendation 5)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.
U.S. Agency for International Development The USAID Administrator should direct the Private Sector Engagement Hub or other appropriate entity to take steps to ensure the reliability of the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise assistance data reported to Congress. (Recommendation 6)
Open
In its response to our report, USAID accepted this recommendation. We will monitor USAID's implementation of this recommendation and provide updated information on its progress.

Small Business Administration: Disaster Loan Processing Was Timelier, but Planning Improvements and Pilot Program Evaluation Needed

GAO-20-168
Mar 09, 2020
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3 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Associate Administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance should identify and document risks associated with its disaster response and plans to mitigate these risks in its disaster planning documentation. (Recommendation 1)
Open
SBA agreed with the recommendation. SBA noted that relevant agency offices would collaborate to identify and document known risks associated with SBA's disaster response and implement a risk-informed approach to its direct response and recovery operations. According to SBA, the agency has been meeting regularly with its Office of Continuous Operations and Risk Management, and expects to fully incorporate regional risks in its 2023 Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan.
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Associate Administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance should identify the key elements of a disaster action plan and provide additional guidance to staff on how to incorporate these elements into future action plans. (Recommendation 2)
Open
SBA agreed with the recommendation. According to SBA, the agency is reviewing existing action plans and will be identifying critical elements to incorporate in the revised disaster action plan. As of March 22, 2022, SBA was still developing a template of key elements to be included in large-scale disaster action plans.
Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance should update its outreach plan to include information on region-specific risks or challenges, such as those encountered after the 2017 hurricanes. (Recommendation 3)
Open
SBA agreed with the recommendation. According to SBA in March 2022, prior to developing the communications plan on region-specific risks, the agency has determined it is necessary to understand SBA's hazard footprint. Therefore, SBA's data team was conducting an analysis of the agency's hazard footprint by declaration. Once this research is complete, SBA stated it plans to move forward with its preliminary Marketing and Outreach Plan.
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