WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) announced bipartisan legislation to direct the Small Business Administration to conduct a study on women-owned small business’ (WOSB) participation in federal multiple award contracts (MACs) was approved by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  

“We need to do everything we can to make sure that women-owned small businesses can compete for federal contracts on a level playing field, so that they can have the same access as anyone else to business opportunities that can create good-paying jobs,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Now that this bill is heading to the full Senate for a vote, I am urging my colleagues to pass this legislation to help women-owned small businesses have a fair shot at growing and succeeding.” 

“In order to ensure all our entrepreneurs have a fair shot at winning federal contracts, we must first understand the root of this problem and how extensive it is,” said Senator Ernst. “With small businesses making up 97 percent of all employers in Iowa and about 82,000 of those being women-owned businesses, I am pleased to see my colleagues on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee approve this important step towards ensuring all small businesses have better access to these contracting opportunities.”

A report issued at the end of 2015 by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that the odds of a WOSB winning a federal contract are 21 percent lower than that of their counterparts. The report also found that WOSBs have lower odds of winning contracts in the industries that receive the majority of federal contract dollars. The study would address concerns that WOSBs are underrepresented in MACs, and would also examine the participation of all other socio-economic categories of small businesses such as those participating in the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program.

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