Set-aside program for women on the way, SBA says
Rule changes proposed to promote women-owned businesses
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Sep 08, 2010
Businesswomen may get their own small-business set-aside program this year, according to one report.
Joseph Jordon, associate administrator of government contracting and
business development at the Small Business Administration, told the Fed
Tech BisNow newsletter that SBA may have a woman-owned small business program set up by the end of 2010.
SBA proposed rule directs set-aside contracts to women-owned firms
Obama increases focus on small-business contracting
Officials also may approve a number of proposals, including
developing a tool for procurement officials to designate contracts
specifically for women-owned businesses.
In similar efforts, the Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council on
Sept. 1 assigned a team of regulators, who deal with small business
issues, with drafting a proposed rule for the Federal Acquisition
Regulation regarding such a program, according to an official document.
The council gave the team an Oct. 13 deadline to report back, the document states.
The woman-owned small business set-aside program would be similar to
the programs for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and
small companies based in economically depressed regions, named
Historically Underutilized Business Zones. Contracting officers have
the option of having only a certain category of small business compete
for federal work.
The program for women has been slow in coming. and has raised a lot of controversy along the way.
The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 authorized officials
to create a woman-owned small business procurement program in
industries where women business owners are underrepresented. The
government has studied the issue several times through the years and
has put out controversial proposals.
Most recently, in March, the SBA released the latest proposal to
amend its own regulations to set up a contracting program for women,
while withdrawing a proposal from the Bush administration.
While there is no program, agencies are still evaluated annually by
the SBA on how much money they award to women-owned small businesses,
along with the other categories of small businesses. Agencies, as a
whole, awarded more money to woman-owned small businesses in fiscal
2009 than in 2008, but still fell well short of the 5 percent
contracting goal, the SBA reported in August.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.