(Washington D.C., May 25, 2010) — The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) strongly supports the legislation proposed yesterday by Senator Olympia Snowe to improve the ability of women-owned businesses to compete for and receive federal contracts. This legislation comes on the heels of a recent meeting between NAWBO and Senator Snowe's office where NAWBO raised issues regarding the women's procurement program. NAWBO has since released an official statement of support to be included with the bill introduction and will work closely with Senator Snowe's office to secure co-sponsors and ongoing support of the bill as it passes through the political process.
On March 4, 2010, the Small Business Administration (SBA) proposed an updated Rule for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program to facilitate ongoing efforts to reach Congress' goal of awarding 5% of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses. Since the program was introduced in 1994, the goal has never been achieved. Consequently, in 2007, women-owned businesses were losing contract opportunities at a rate of approximately $5 billion each year. Unfortunately, the value of the difference between the goal and the current 3.4% of contracts awarded to women-owned businesses has since increased to approximately $6.9 billion.
Through both written comments and in-person conversations with members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, NAWBO has expressed its support of the updated SBA Rule, including the expansion of under-represented industry categories for women business owners. Likewise, NAWBO has expressed concerns about barriers that the proposed Rule maintains. Yesterday, Senator Snowe took the initiative to ensure women's equity in contracting by introducing legislation that addresses the limitations of the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.
Senator Snowe's proposed legislation streamlines the certification process while assuring program integrity and accountability by aligning eligibility with other SBA restricted contracting programs. The legislation also recognizes the capability and capacity of women-owned businesses by removing the contract award threshold. Additionally, the legislation improves the program's effectiveness by requiring an update to the NAICS codes in which women are considered under-represented every five years, recognizing that the role of women-owned businesses is as dynamic as the industries in which they engage.
With more than 7,000 members in 80 chapters across the United States, NAWBO is the largest and only dues-based association representing the interests of women entrepreneurs in all industries. On behalf of our membership, for which federal procurement opportunities is a top priority, NAWBO applauds the bill introduced today by Senator Snowe and her continued commitment to equity in women's contracting.
Founded in 1975, NAWBO propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide. More than 35 years later, NAWBO is still the only organization that solely represents the interest of women entrepreneurs in all industries. The organization's mission is to strengthen the wealth-creating capacity of its members and promote economic development; to create innovative and effective change in the business culture; to build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and to transform public policy and influence opinion makers. To learn more about NAWBO, visit www.nawbo.org.
NAWBO Media Relations
Christina Jorgensen (ext. 103)
Lauren Astor (ext. 115)
Phone: (818) 772-9555