SBA to launch small business program for women

The agency is working to create procedures for contracting officers to identify and establish a sheltered market for competition

Women will have their place in the Small Business Administration’s contracting programs starting in 2011.

SBA officials announced on Oct. 4 that the agency is setting up procedures to help woman-owned small businesses gain more access to the federal contracting marketplace. A final rule is expected to be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register.

Working with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, SBA officials will begin a four-month implementation of the Women-Owned Small Business program. They will be building the technology and the program’s infrastructure to support the certification process and ongoing oversight.

Officials expect contracting officers will be able to start making contracts available to small businesses owned by women under the program in early 2011, SBA said. The aim is to give more opportunities to women, because, officials say, women are under-represented in government contracting.


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SBA's report on women-owned businesses: The unabridged version

Questions, answers on SBA's proposed rule for women-owned small businesses


“This rule will be a platform for changing that,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said.

A preview of the final rule states that the purpose “is to enable contracting officers to identify and establish a sheltered market for competition.”

Under an amended statute, contracting officers can set aside a contract for women business owners without giving first preference to a particular type of small business.

In SBA’s rule, officials identified 83 industries in which women would be eligible for federal contract assistance under the new program. (Read an unabridged list of the industries.)

Officials used the analysis in a 2007 study commissioned by SBA from the Kauffman-Rand Foundation to determine where women are underrepresented.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 Kyle

They are basing the cnclusion on a study done nearly 4 years ago. I'm sick of the government tryingto make everything fair for everyone. Everything IS fair if they just award the best bid period !

Thu, Oct 7, 2010 John

Is this like the SDVOSB programs, where virtually no opportunities exist for SDVOSB in the Information Technology space but opportunities abound for janitor, contstruction and other manual labor based activities?

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 Luis Washington

The courts have already decided it is illegal but the government insists in breaking the law and getting away with blatant discrimination. Where is the Attorney General and the media screaming foul? Women already have access to government business and is called competition.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 StrangeLoop

I think we need to help out the left-handed midgets who live in states that begin with the letter "M" -- when's the last time one of THEM got a Fed contract?

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 Lance Winslow www.worldthinktank.net

I believe such a program to be discriminatory towards men, and a sexist and un-PC thing to do with my tax dollar, thus, I hereby protest profusely. Why should the tax dollars of male business owners fund their future competition, while being refused similar programs? Thank you for my comment.

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