The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced June 15 that it would finally begin the process of implementing the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Assistance Program that was authorized in 2000 but never implemented. This program would help ensure that women-owned small businesses get at least 5 percent of all federal government contracts.
Women small business owners have been historically underrepresented in federal government contracts. As late of 2004, women only received 3.03 percent of federal government contracts, according to the Federal Procurement Data System. The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) mandated that at least 5 percent of the total value of all prime federal government contracts and subcontracts be awarded to women. This goal has not been met since 1996.
The Women-Owned Small Business Contract Assistance Program would provide assistance to businesses owned at least 51 percent by women who are economically disadvantaged, with certain exceptions for some industries. Some 76,000 women-owned businesses are registered with the federal government for contracting consideration, and the Small Business Administration estimates the 16,500 of these will join the new program, according to the Boston Business Journal.