The Women’s Procurement Program, which was signed into law in 2000 to aid small, women-owned businesses, has never been implemented. According to an audit by the inspector general’s office of the Small Business Administration (SBA), delays and miscommunications within the agency are to blame.
With the delay of federal grants to the programs, the audit says that some of the women’s businesses centers are being forced to “lay off staff and abandon vendors in order to stay in business,” reports the New York Times. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY, chair of the House Small Business committee, said in the Federal Times that the delays tell women-owned business “we’re not interesting in doing business with you.”
On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is holding a hearing on the audit, which was started last May. Senator John Kerry D-MA, chair of the committee, said in the Washington Post that the investigation is to “reaffirm what I’ve been hearing from women’s business centers around the country… The Bush administration needs to cut the red tape so that women-owned small businesses can get the support promised them.”