Washington (PRESS RELEASE – October 12, 2010) – The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) applauds the release of the final rule which will implement the Women’s Procurement Program, enacted into law in the year 2000.
“The Women’s Procurement Program at last clears the way for women’s businesses to compete for federal contracts and increase their share of this business representing potentially $6 billion,” said WBENC President and CEO Linda Denny.
Signed into law by President Clinton, the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program of the Small Business Act set a five percent contracting goal for the Federal Government to do business with women owned companies. Even though the Federal Government has come from less than one percent to about 3.5 percent currently, the difference between the current number and the five percent goal represents over $6 billion in contract opportunities for women.
The rule also allows woman-owned businesses to either self-certify or certify through third parties approved by SBA. “As the leading certifier of Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs), WBENC is delighted that the SBA will also open the door to third-party certification,” Denny added.
“The Women’s Procurement Program will benefit not only the businesses themselves, but also the new hires and investments that we know is the bigger economic outcome of women’s business growth,” she said.
When enacted, contracting officers will have the ability to restrict competition to women-owned small businesses if the procurement falls within one of the eighty-three (83) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. The previous version would have applied to only five codes.
On behalf of WBENC, Denny galvanized the support of its Corporate Members, WBENC-certified Women’s Business Enterprises and 21 organizations representing 1.25-million women’s businesses to conduct a comprehensive commenting campaign disapproving specific elements of the proposed version and recommending some of the improvements that appear in the newly approved one.
“We thank SBA Administrator Karen Mills for her leadership on this issue. And we are extraordinarily proud of our colleagues at Women Impacting Public Policy for their continued effort to make this 10 year goal a reality,” Denny said.
Important to the program’s success is a change made in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 which restored “parity” among all of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) small business contracting programs. The program will be considered equal to any other small business contracting program. This issue is highlighted in The Economic Blueprint: The Women Business Owners’ Platform for Growth, developed by WIPP with contributions from WBENC and other organizations.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the leading advocate for, and authority on, Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) as suppliers and vendors to the nation’s corporations. Founded in 1997, WBENC is also the nation’s leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women.More in: Women Entrepreneurs