A recent story, the Small Business Administration short changing women-owned business (WOB’s), was brought to my attention.
On December 27 the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a proposed new rule. The rule makes a lame attempt to implement a law (PL 106-554) passed by Congress in 2000. The law was created to level the playing field for women-owned businesses competing for federal contracts by awarding 5% of federal contracting dollars to them. Congress tasked the SBA with implementing the law.
The SBA hemmed and hawed and dragged their feet and finally, seven years later, they released a proposed rule in a feeble attempt to comply with the 2000 law. The SBA concluded in the rule that WOB’s only experience discrimination in 4 out of 2300 categories.
Wow, that sounds great doesn’t it? Too bad it’s not true. Women own 48% of all businesses in the United States. They are equal or majority owners of 10.6 million firms in the United States, employing more than 19.1 million people and generating $2.5 trillion in sales annually. However, women account for only 3.4% of all federal contracts. Now, I’m not a mathematician but that doesn’t look like equal representation to me.
The women-owned business community is up in arms about this issue. The topic has been covered in the Washington Post, New York Times, countless local papers and a Congressional Hearing was recently held to discuss implementation or lack of implementation of the 2000 Congressional mandate (PL 106-554).
We will be featuring Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) President Barbara Kasoff on our 1/21 Smallbiz Brain Podcast release to discuss this important issue on The Smallbiz Brain Podcast.