The importance of women-owned businesses

March is Women’s History Month, giving us the perfect excuse to recognize the importance of women-owned businesses, particularly in federal contracting.

That’s right. We can tie just about any topic to government sales.

Let’s start out with an acronym translator, required in government-land:
• WOSB = Woman Owned Small Business
• EDWOSB = Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business
• SBA = Small Business Administration
• WBENC = Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
• NWBOC = National Women Business Owners Corporation
• FY = Fiscal Year, which for the federal government runs from October 1 – September 30
• NAICS = North American Industry Classification System

Let’s continue with some fun facts:
• More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women
• Women-owned businesses employ nearly 7.9 million people
• Generate $1.4 trillion in sales as of 2014 (yeah… that was trillion… talk about success!)
• Women account for about 30% of privately owned firms, contribute 14% of employment, and 11% of revenues!
• 1 in 5 firms with $1 million or more in revenue is women-owned
• WOSBs received $15.4 billion in federal government contract awards in FY13
• Federal contracting officers can establish WOSB contract set-asides in 83 different NAICS
• Government-wide, the SBA challenges federal agencies to spend 5% of contracting dollars with WOSBs
• And a majority of JetCo employees are women. So there’s that.

Womens History Month Blog Image

4.32% in FY13 equals $15.4 billion (yeah… billion… with a b) in federal contracts won by WOSBs.

Our fun facts show women owned businesses make a meaningful economic impact and they are significant players in the federal contracting space. So what qualifies a business to be women-owned? WBENC and NWBOC certifications require the company to be 51% owned by a woman or women. A woman must also hold the highest position within the business and be active in the daily management of the company and active in the strategic planning.

Glass ceiling? Ha! WOSB companies laugh as they shatter glass ceilings in federal contracting. The SBA publishes procurement scorecards to show how federal agencies perform in in reaching small and socio-economic prime contracting goals. WOSBs are earning an increasing percentage of federal prime contracts, up from 3.41% in FY07 to 4.32% in FY13.

WOSB companies are bidding more and winning more, and the winners share an attribute:  they break information barriers like glass ceilings.

“Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt


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