As we womenablers know, after a very long battle, a Women-Owned Small Business Procurement program was launched by the US Small Business Administration in February 2011. How’s that program faring nearly 18 months later? Well…
First of all, there’s been no official commentary or updates from the SBA since the program was launched. Secondly, a recent analysis in an article on Bloomberg.com finds that just $21 million has been awarded through the new program – less than the cost of one unmanned drone. WIPP Lobbyist Ann Sullivan, quoted in the article, puts it well:
“We worked for 11 years to try and get this thing in place. Is the program working? Well, looking at those numbers, the answer is no, it’s not working.”
OK, womenablers, time to put the pressure on the SBA – and on all federal agency purchasing offices – to start utilizing this program!
For advocacy fodder, you might want to download and read these two reports looking at the performance of women-owned firms in the federal contracting arena:
- Women and Minority Contractors: Greater Challenges, Deeper Motivations, Different Strategies and Equal Success (2010)
- Women and Minority Small Business Contractors: Divergent Paths to Equal Success (2011)
These research reports show that once women-owned firms start winning federal contracts, their success and business size matches their male peers – proving they are up to the task and that access to government markets can level the playing field of business achievement.