Press Release

Sens. Ernst and Gillibrand Introduce Legislation To Examine Women-Owned Small Business Opportunities

May 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today introduced bipartisan legislation to direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to conduct a comprehensive study on women-owned small business (WOSB) participation in multiple award contracts (MACs) from the federal government. This 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, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and those participating in the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program.

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.

“Small businesses make up 97 percent of all employers in Iowa, which is home to about 82,000 women-owned businesses, so it’s important that we make sure our entrepreneurs are getting a fair shot at winning federal contracts,” said Senator Ernst. “This bipartisan call for a study is an important first step to identify any discrepancies so we can develop solutions to ensure all small businesses have equal access to these contracting opportunities.”

“Women-owned small businesses receive a disproportionately low number of federal contracts, and this legislation would help uncover why this is happening,” said Senator Gillibrand. “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 to good-paying jobs as anyone else. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Ernst, and I will always fight for good-paying jobs in New York.”