Women's Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-sNJ Opposes SBA Proposed Rule on Federal Contract Procedures

Published In: Business, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania 
Friday, January 25, 2008 12:32 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Women's Business Enterprise
Council PA-DE-sNJ (WBEC) today opposed the Small Business Administration's
(SBA) proposed rule to severely limit the number of industries in which women
business owners can expect a fair opportunity to bid on Federal contracts,
saying that it flaunts Congressional intent. WBEC is an affiliate of the
Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the leading advocate and
authority on women's business enterprises as suppliers to the nation's top
corporations.

"The ruling is disappointing since, for years, the SBA has recognized
women-owned businesses as a leading engine of the economy. Now it has
curtailed a law that would enable women to compete fairly for Federal
contracts," said President, Geri Swift.

Although women-owned firms account for 41 percent of all privately-held
firms in the U.S., they currently receive only 3.3 percent of the Federal
contracts. The Equity in Contracting for Women Act, passed into law in 2000,
would allow federal contracting officers to set aside up to five percent of
all contracts to women-owned businesses; but the SBA has proposed a rule that
would limit eligibility to businesses in only four industries in the more than
2000 potential categories.

The difference in Federal spending between 5 percent and 3.3 percent was
$7.5-billion based on 2006 numbers, according to WBENC. This is expected to
negatively impact communities where 10.4-million women-owned firms employ more
than 12.8 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in revenues.

"At a time when the economy is foundering, this proposed ruling is
creating a barrier for women's businesses that are a source of growth,"
President, Geri Swift declared. For the past two decades, women-owned firms
have grown at around two times the rate of all firms (42 percent vs. 24
percent).

"The government also can take a lesson from America's corporations that
are leveling the playing field for women's business enterprises by setting
goals and implementing best practice processes to drive those goals throughout
their organizations," said Linda Denny, President and CEO of WBENC. "They
have been rewarded with greater quality products and services, innovation and
shareholder value."

Further raising the bar of entry for women entrepreneurs in the area of
government procurement, the SBA has also proposed that in order for an agency
to set aside a new contract under the proposed rule, the procuring agency
would have to conduct an appropriate analysis of its own procurement history
to demonstrate past discrimination against women-owned small businesses. If
the SBA recommendation is accepted women owned business would be the only
category subject to the additional requirement that would effectively block
all opportunities.

"I urge women's business enterprises and indeed any individual who
believes in leveling the playing field for women in business, to register your
comments with the SBA and object to this rule before the public comment period
ends on February 25. You can also contact your Congressional delegate or the
House Small Business Committee," Denny concludes. For specific action steps
and additional information, access the Women Impacting Public Policy website:
http://www.wipp.org/news_details.asp?story_id=538&memberonly=False.


For information about WBENC, please access www.wbenc.org.


For information about WBEC PA-DE-sNJ, please access www.wbecouncil.org.


SOURCE Women's Business Enterprise Council


 
Friday, January 25, 2008 12:32 PM

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