Thursday, March 8, 2012

Consider Asking Your Senator to Sponsor the Fairness in Women Contracting Act

From our friends at the BPW Foundation
Women small business owners are at the backbone of our recovering economy, and starting a small business can be a smart professional decision for many women including our returning veterans.

In order to make sure that women small business owners are successful, the BPW Foundation is asking you to contact your Senators ASAP about sponsoring a new bill, The Fairness in Women Contracting Act. The purpose of the bill is to address two outstanding barriers that have arisen since implementing the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) procurement program in March, 2011.

This bill improves the WOSB procurement program to lift the dollar caps on the awards in the qualifying 83 NAICS codes, and gives sole source authority to the program. Sole source contracts have a cap of $5 million—the same as in the other small business procurement programs. It also allows women owned small businesses to bid on more lucrative contracts within the WOSB program.

Background

In March 2011, the SBA implemented the WOSB procurement program. This came after a concerted effort by the women’s business community to implement the program which took 11 years of hard work. When enacted, women small business owners knew the program was complicated and would require changes in order to maximize its effectiveness.

Since the program has been in place two outstanding barriers have arisen. First, the dollar limit of $4 and $6.5 million and secondly, the requirement to find two women owned businesses that can qualify for the work. The dollar limit has resulted in a number of opportunities being pulled back because they exceed the dollar limit. This means that contracting officers are trying to award larger contracts to women owned businesses and we cannot avail ourselves of those opportunities. Second, the lack of sole source authority makes the program cumbersome and puts it on unequal footing with other small business procurement programs. In order to make changes, legislation is required and this can be accomplished through The Fairness in Women Contracting Act.

How you can help!

Please email or call your Senate offices asking that they co-sponsor The Fairness in Women Contracting Act. If you are a small business owner, let them know that as well. You can contact your Senators' local or Washington, DC office. Click here to find your Senator's contact information.

The following is a sample email you can send to your Senators:

As your constituent, and a supporter of BPW Foundation, I am writing today to ask Senator _____ to become an original cosponsor on the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) procurement program bill that Senators Snowe and Gillibrand are introducing, The Fairness in Women Contracting Act . The bill gives sole source authority to the program and lifts the dollar caps on the WOSB procurement program. Although the program is now in effect, it is hampered by the dollar limits and the time it takes for a contracting officer to award a contract to women-owned small businesses.

This is a critical issue for women-owned businesses who are working in the federal contracting market, of which I am one.

If you have questions please contact Meredith West on Senator Snowe's staff at (202) 224-5344 or Kevin Fink on Senator Gillibrand's staff at (202) 224-4451.

Best regards,
XXX

Report back your efforts: Please let the BPW Foundation know which Senate offices you contact by emailing them at foundation@bpwfoundation.org.

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