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SBA ADVANCES WOMEN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTING
WASHINGTON, DC - Friday, October 5, 2007 -/ The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced steps to increase federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSB). The agency submitted this week a comprehensive new rule for interagency review and anticipates its publication in coming months.

"Submitting the rule for interagency review is an important step forward in the rule-making process," SBA Administrator Steve Preston said. "The SBA continues to work to increase federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses through stronger accountability and transparency for federal agencies, better technology tools to help contracting agencies find the right women-owned business, and strong support from the agency's district offices."

In April of this year, SBA submitted for interagency review a draft final rule outlining the agency's certification and protest procedures. In addition, SBA has completed analysis of the RAND Corporation's report on the share of government contracts procured by WOSBs in various industries.

The new proposed rule is a necessary step, as SBA made substantial changes to the certification rule submitted earlier. By including the RAND report analysis and amendments based on public comments regarding the previous rule, the agency drafted a new, comprehensive rule. As required under the Administrative Procedures Act and relevant Executive Orders, the agency submitted the rule for interagency review prior to its release for public comment as a proposed rule.

Meanwhile, SBA has implemented significant new initiatives to increase small business access to government contracts. This summer, it instituted a semi-annual Scorecard, which reports on federal procuring agencies' progress toward small business contracting goals, including the 5 percent goal for women-owned small businesses.

In addition, there are many resources currently available nationwide to assist WOSBs seek contracts at federal agencies, such as Small Business Development Centers, Women Business Centers, SCORE, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization Centers.

SBA's Executive team is committed to continuing to increase federal contracting dollars to WOSBs. Over the last several years, WOSBs have been winning an increasingly greater share of federal procurement dollars. Contracts to WOSB accounted for $11.6 billion in FY06 and 3.4 percent of federal procurement, an increase of $1.4 billion or 0.3 percent from FY 2005.

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