WIPP's myContracting Magazine January 2015 - Page 4


Women Impacting Public Policy applauds Congress for passing legislation to improve the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program, helping women entrepreneurs access the federal market. The change is part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 3979) passed by the House and Senate earlier this month.

The WOSB procurement program, officially launched in 2011, is a critical entry point into the world of government contracting for women entrepreneurs nationwide. Since its inception, the WOSB procurement program has been hampered by restrictions on the size and type of contracts awarded. All other major small business contracting programs have sole-source authority, however the WOSB procurement program does not have it. This legislation fixes that inequity.

The legislation also expedites a disparity study by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which identifies under-represented industries for participation in the WOSB procurement program. Supporters have noted that the study is critical to expanding the program to more industries where the program is needed. The study was originally required by 2018—more than eleven years after the last study—but would be accelerated to 2015.

“We are grateful to the House and Senate for ensuring sole source remained a priority, including the leadership of Senators Cantwell and Shaheen as well as Representative Jackie Speier. This is the kind of legislative victory I envisioned when we established WIPP,” said Barbara Kasoff, founder & president of WIPP. “Our advocacy and the WOSB procurement program are inextricably linked. Sole source has been our top priority to improve the program and expand access to the federal market for women entrepreneurs. I am optimistic that these changes will help the government reach and exceed, for the first time, its 5% contracting goal.”

Sole source legislation had broad support in Congress as well as at the Small Business Administration. Administrator Contreras-Sweet made improving this program a priority. This victory was made possible with her support and from a broad coalition of women’s business and small business organizations that supported the legislation. The President is expected to sign the bill into law later this month.