Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year, Less Dollars For Some Women Owners

SBA effort for women owners stirs outrage among backers of a long-delayed program that would funnel more federal contracts to small companies owned by women.

Seven years ago, Congress ordered the SBA to draft guidelines so federal agencies could meet the goal of awarding 5% of federal small-business contracts to female owners -- a goal set by law in 1994. Last week, the SBA proposed a rule to implement the program and was criticized by those who said the guideline would be too restrictive.

The new rule would cover just four industries in which the SBA says women-owned small firms don't get their fair share of federal contract dollars: national security and international affairs; coating, engraving, heat treating and allied activities; furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing; and motor vehicle dealers.

Read more about it here.

Some quick facts:
There are 7.7 million women-controlled firms, which are those in which a female owns 51% or more of a company, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. That's about one-third of all U.S. firms. Yet their sizes and sales tend to be lower than average. Women-owned firms account for only about 4% of total company revenue, according to the women's chamber.
Women-owned small firms capture about 3.4% of federal small-business contracting dollars.
And now it may be even less.

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