Idaho Falls, ID. January 7, 2008 – Recently, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the nation’s largest bipartisan women’s business group, spoke out against a Small Business Administration proposed rule, released December 26, that reduces federal contracts protected status for women-owned businesses to only four of over 2,300 business categories. WIPP board member, Sylvia Medina, President of North Wind, Inc., an Idaho Falls headquartered environmental consulting and engineering firm, joined the organization in commenting on the proposed rule.
“As a business leader and an advocate for women-owned businesses, I believe this proposed rule is a drastic step backwards in the progress that has been made over the past seven years,” said Medina.
The rule, if enacted, would drastically limit the number of governmental contracts awarded to women entrepreneurs by requiring women-owned businesses to show under-representation in thousands of industries and direct discrimination by a government agency to qualify for protected status. The new rule would only extend protected status to women-owned businesses in four categories listed by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS): kitchen cabinet manufacturing, engraving, other motor vehicles and intelligence.
Further raising the bar of entry for women entrepreneurs in the area of government procurement, the SBA has also proposed that in order for an agency to set aside a new contract under the proposed rule, the procuring agency would have to conduct an appropriate analysis of its own procurement history to show that there has been discrimination against women-owned small businesses in the past.
Passed by Congress in 2000, Public Law 106-554 was created to allow federal contracting officers to award up to five percent of all contracts to women-owned businesses. However, according to the most recent government report, that goal continues to fall short, with women entrepreneurs receiving only 3.3 percent of contracts in 2005. Many of these figures were supported by Rand Corporation study, released in April 2007. The study, conducted at SBA’s request confirmed that woman-owned small businesses are under-represented in 87% of industries.
About Woman Impacting Public Policy
WIPP is a national bi-partisan group comprising over half a million members. The non-profit organization is the public policy voice for 45 national Women in Business groups and is The Voice for Women in Business in Our Nation’s Capital. WIPP strengthens its members’ sphere of influence in the legislative process, creates economic opportunities for members and builds alliances with other small business organizations. For further information, visit WIPP’s website at www.wipp.prg.