Women-owned small businesses gaining ground in government contracting

(Washington, DC)— According to the National Women’s Business Council’s (NWBC), the latest research reveals government performance and trends in procurement as it relates to women-owned small businesses, is gaining ground.

Securing government contracts is one way to increase revenues for small businesses.

“There have been many great gains for women-owned small businesses, especially as they have increased their procurement share,” NWBC Research and Policy Director Emily Bruno said.

The Florida SBDC at USF has assisted in those gains, through its no-cost consulting and low-cost training programs available to women entrepreneurs.

“The SBDC is continuously providing women with information in becoming certified through its training and consulting,” Associate Director Yanina Rosario, said.

From January 2012 to November 1, 2013, the Florida SBDC at USF region provided consulting services to more than 5,200 entrepreneurs. Women constituted 49 percent of all clients.

Of those women entrepreneurs served, 46 percent of them are currently in business. Their businesses account for 5,422 full-time jobs and more than $705 million in sales for the Tampa Bay region. Eight percent of those are woman, minority or service-disabled veteran certified.

Certification allows businesses to earn more points when it comes to the award of government contracts. The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Procurement Program was implemented in 2011.

Even with the progress that has been made, research still shows that the average WOSB awards remain lower than those of other small businesses. This makes being a certified business even more important moving ahead.

“Being a certified business helps the entrepreneur set itself apart from the general competition,” Rosario said. “When a business is one of the best in its category, has capacity to properly respond to bids, and is able to provide its product/service at a competitive price, sometimes it still needs something extra to win the contract. That is when certification as a WOSB can make the difference.”

Highlights From The Report Include:

• The WOSB FCP has facilitated entry of new participants in federal contracting through the use of the WOSB and EDWOSB (economically disadvantaged WOSB) set-asides, in addition to increasing their procurement share.

• During the period of analysis, WOSBs generally received an increasing share of contracts and awards, not only within the 83 designated industries but in other industries as well. However, although WOSBs are generally meeting the contract threshold within the 83 industries, they remain underrepresented in terms of awards share.

• Despite WOSB progress, average WOSB awards remain lower than those of other small businesses. The number of industries in which the WOSB share of awards is greater than the WOSB share of contracts remains low, indicating that on average, WOSBs are earning less money per contract than non-WOSBs in the majority of industries.

• Consistent with general procurement trends for WOSBs, vendors with more longevity and stability (i.e., receiving contracts in multiple fiscal years) were able to secure a larger portion of contracts through the use of the WOSB and EDWOSB set-asides. However, almost half of all WOSB vendors received contracts only in a single fiscal year, indicating a high rate of turnover.

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graphic source:  NWBC