NAWBO supports achievement of the 5% Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and other steps designed to assure women business owners their fair share of Federal contracts and contract dollars. Failure to achieve the 5% goal has cost women business owners an average of $5 billion in lost contracts each year.
NAWBO opposes contract bundling, the Federal government’s policy of consolidating its purchases of unrelated goods and services into a single large contract. Bundling limits the opportunities for small businesses to effectively compete, thereby restricting competition and increasing the overall cost of goods and services to the Federal government.
- NAWBO supports legislation or executive action that will hold ALL government entities, departments and purchasing agents accountable for achieving the 5% contract goal.
- NAWBO advocates executive branch action or legislation designed to facilitate standardization of RFP solicitation language and specifications according to the industry type being sought to fulfill the proposed contract.
- NAWBO advocates enforcement of subcontracting plans to hold prime contractors accountable for using minority and women-owned businesses. Greater enforcement of “prompt payment” requirements to subcontractors is needed.
- NAWBO advocates executive branch action or legislation that will create a single source of timely information regarding formal and informal opportunities (projected and planned). There should be a single portal and standardized formats for displaying procurement information and opportunities on agency websites.
- NAWBO advocates executive branch action or legislation that will ensure agencies are held accountable for documentation and accurate valuation of bundled contracts.
- In 1994, Congress enacted the Federal Acquisition and Streamlining Act (PL 103-355; FASA) that, among other things, set a goal of 5% of Federal contract dollars to be awarded to WOSBs. This goal has never been achieved. In fact, the amount of Federal contract dollars awarded to WOSBs has never exceeded 3.4%.
- Recognizing the lack of progress toward the 5% goal, Congress acted in 2000 to authorize a “restricted competition” or set-aside program specifically for women-owned businesses. This program, the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Assistance Program, was included in the SBA Reauthorization Act (Public Law 106-554) and has now been codified in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. S 637(m). The act is sometimes known as the Equity in Women’s Contracting Act. Unfortunately, more than 10 years after Congress authorized the new set-aside program, it has yet to be implemented.
- In FY 2006, $11.6 billion in Federal procurement was spent with women-owned small businesses out of a total spent of $340 billion. That amount was actually less than the Federal procurement dollars spent with women-owned businesses in 2005. Although women entrepreneurs account for 33% of all entrepreneurs in the U.S., the overall share of dollars the Federal government spent on women-owned small businesses was only 3.4%, up from 2.89 percent in FY 2003.
- If women business owners had received 5% (rather than 3.4%) of the $340 billion spent by the Federal government with prime contractors, they would have received $17 billion in contracts in FY 2006—$5.4 billion more than they actually did receive. In the years since FY 2000, women-owned businesses have missed out on an average of $5 billion in contracts per year, putting the total at $40 billion since the set-aside program was established in 2000.
- NAWBO submitted testimony at hearings of both the House and Senate Committees on Small Business stating our opposition to the Small Business Administration's proposed rule on the set-aside program issued in 2007. As originally proposed, rule would only allow Federal agencies to implement the set-aside program for women-owned businesses in four of more than 2,300 business categories and even then only after the agencies individually document that they previously discriminated against women-owned businesses. The rule was ultimately withdrawn by the SBA, and a new proposed rule was published by the SBA on March 2, 2010 which responded to a number of the critical comments NAWBO made on the 2007 proposal. The proposed rules may be found online at http://www.regulations.gov.
- In a 2010 NAWBO issues survey, women business owners indicated that 10.1% of their revenues came from state or local governments, as opposed to a mere 4.1% in 1998. In the same survey, members indicated that 5.9% of their revenues came from the Federal government, up from 2.2% in 1998.
- A NAWBO Member Survey in 2008 indicated that only about 11% of sales of women-owned businesses come from government contracts. However, when NAWBO members were asked about their interest in doing business with government agencies in 2008, 62.8% expressed interest, and 24.4% of members expressed extreme interest.
In January 2008, NAWBO announced its criticism of the proposed rules issued by the Small Business Administration for the women-owned business set-aside program. Since then, NAWBO has continued to advocate to ensure women-owned businesses get their fair share of federal contracts.
- NAWBO Participates in Small Business Post Election Debriefing and Encourages Increased Federal Contracting (November 2010) (PDF)
- NAWBO's Response to SBA's Proposed Rules (May 2010)
- NAWBO Supports Legislation Proposed by Senator Olympia Snowe (May 2010)
- NAWBO's Response to SBA's Proposed Rules (May 2010)
- SBA's Ruling (April 2010) (PDF)
- NAWBO's Testimony to House Committee on Small Business (January 2008)
- Press Release criticizing proposed rule (January 2007)
- Letters to SBA (2005-2008)