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Shaheen, Cantwell, and Gillibrand Applaud Release of Small Business Administration Rule to Support Women-Owned Small Businesses

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today applauded the announcement by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that they have finalized a rule to increase opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) to win federal contracts. The rule follows the inclusion last year of the senators’ legislation, the Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act, as part of must-pass defense legislation that was signed into law.

“This is a major victory for women-owned small businesses, which will now have greater access to federal contracting opportunities,” said Shaheen. “Women entrepreneurs across this country will be able to grow their businesses and create jobs while providing important goods and services to the federal government.” 

“This is an important step towards closing the gender gap for access to federal contracts, and it encourages more women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs,” said Cantwell.  “Women-owned businesses deserve a fair shot at the billions of dollars in federal contracts they have been missing out on every year.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and among the most powerful job creators we have,” said Gillibrand. “This new action from the Small Business Administration will expand business opportunities for our women entrepreneurs to grow and start new businesses. When women-owned businesses are offered a fair shot to compete, they can thrive, creating jobs and strengthening our economy."

This new rule aims to increase the share of federal contracts that are awarded to women-owned small businesses by removing a restriction on using sole-source authority for WOSBs. This would give the WOSB procurement program parity with other small business federal contracting programs. Two decades ago, lawmakers set a modest goal of awarding at least 5% of small business contracts to women-owned small businesses.