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Senate Passes Rule Change in Women’s Contracting Program


WASHINGTON –The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) applauded the approval of legislation that would remove financial limits placed on contracts awarded to women business owners.
 
Under the current Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program, 5 percent of all government contracts must be set aside for women. However, the program limits the size of the contracts that eligible business owners can receive: $6.5 million for awards in the manufacturing and construction industry, and $4 million for contracts in the remaining fields. In all, 300 industries are covered by the program.
 
The measure approved Dec. 4 by the Senate, as part of a larger national defense bill, would remove those financial caps.
 
“Raising the existing dollar thresholds would help more fully achieve the intent of the implementation of the WOSB program, which has the potential to be a tremendous resource for women-owned businesses,” said NWBC Executive Director Anie Borja.  “The amendment helps increase access to markets and has a positive impact on the economic growth of women-owned businesses.”
 
NWBC also supports additional measures that would allow contracting officers to award sole-source contracts to women-owned businesses.
 
The leaders of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee released a statement saying passage of the measure puts women-owned small businesses on “a level playing field with the other federal small businesses.”
 
“Simply put, women-owned small businesses have yet to receive their fair share of federal contracting dollars, and as the fastest growing segment of our economy, women-owned small businesses will play a critical role in helping our nation recover from the recent recession,” said Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in their joint statement.
        
 
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012
Contact: Eun Kim, (202) 205-6829, eun.kim@nwbc.gov


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