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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

SBA Proposes Policy to Limit Contracting Opportunities for Women-Owned Firms

Petaluma, Calif. - Today the American Small Business League launched a national campaign to oppose a newly proposed Small Business Administration (SBA) policy that will further delay the implementation of the 5 percent set-aside for woman-owned firms that became law with the passage of P.L. 106-554 in 2000.

If implemented, the new policy will severely limit federal contracting opportunities for women-owned firms. The proposed policy represents the latest attempt in the Bush Administration's seven-year campaign to kill the program designed to ensure women-owned businesses have a fair and equitable opportunity to receive a minimum of 5 percent of federal small business contracts.

Additionally, the policy ignores the findings of a Rand Corporation study that found that woman-owned firms were underrepresented in up to 121 of the 140 industrial categories of goods and services purchased by the federal government.

The SBA's proposed policy would limit the implementation of the program by only allowing set-aside contracts for women in 4 of the 140 industrial categories.

"I hope people understand that what this means is the Bush Administration doesn't believe that giving male owned firms over 95 percent of all federal contracts and subcontracts is enough," President of the ASBL Lloyd Chapman said. "This administration is opposed to an existing federal law that would merely provide that the 50 percent of U.S. citizens that are women receive at least 5 percent of the federal contracts. I think women across the country need to let the SBA know that they will not stand for these injustices by submitting comments in opposition to this rule."

In 1994, Congress set a goal of awarding 5 percent of the total value of all prime contracts to women-owned businesses. According to data from the Federal Procurement Data System, that goal has not been met since 1996. In FY 2006, women-owned firms received only 3.4 percent of federal small business contracting dollars. While male owned firms received a staggering 96.6 percent of all federal contracts.

The American Small Business League's campaign to oppose this anti-woman-owned small business policy will involve: mobilizing ASBL members to comment against the proposed rule, working with chambers of commerce across the country to help them encourage their members to comment and contact their legislators, and communicating the importance of stopping this rule change to legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Christopher Gunn
Communications Director
American Small Business League
(707) 789-9575

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