Clinton boosts women-owned biz

President Clinton signed an executive order on Tuesday to encourage agencies

to meet their contracting goals for small businesses owned by women.

The order puts more teeth into the governmentwide goals established last

year by the Office of Management and Budget requiring agencies to award

5 percent of their overall procurement contracts to women-owned small businesses.

The executive order also provides resources for agencies to meet or exceed

the 5 percent goal this year. The executive order requires agencies to:

* Develop a long-term comprehensive plan.

* Designate a senior acquisition official to identify and promote contracting

opportunities for women-owned small businesses.

* Implement a mentor/protege program that includes women-owned businesses.

* Offer industrywide outreach, training and technical assistance programs

for women-owned businesses

* Require agencies that fail to meet their goals to establish an action

plan.

"The executive order provides the federal agencies with a clear action plan

for meeting and exceeding the statutory 5 percent goal," said Kay Koplovitz,

chairwoman of the National Women's Business Council.

The executive order also includes additional responsibilities for the Small

Business Administration to ensure agencies meet the 5 percent goal. SBA

will establish an office and Web site for procurement opportunities from

women-owned businesses, according to the order. SBA also will develop an

interactive database containing information on procurement opportunities

and women-owned businesses.

"I am extremely pleases that this order is being issued. Women-owned businesses

are among the fastest-growing sectors in the economy, and their contributions

to the current economic expansion are considerable," SBA administrator Aida

Alvarez said.

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