And while Congress set a goal to award 5 percent of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) nearly two decades ago, it was reported that just 4.3 percent of the contracts were awarded across the country last year, making up just 1.48 percent of all federal contract dollars.
This week, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Grace Meng joined other elected officials in northeast Queens to call for the support of the Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act, aiming to close the gap for growth and job creation in WOSBs.
“When we equip more Queens women entrepreneurs with the access and opportunities to achieve their best in the economy, and their best for their family, that’s when America’s middle class will thrive again,” Gillibrand said. “Without a doubt, if given a fair shot, women-owned businesses will help grow our economy.”
According to Women Impacting Public Policy, women own roughly 8.6 million small businesses nationwide, carrying a $3 trillion economic impact and providing nearly 23 million jobs.
If passed, the newly proposed legislation would remove sole-source contract restrictions on WOSBs, as well as fund a study to look into the true impact of ensuring 5 percent of federal contracts to WOSBs.
Meng said that with the support and passage of the bill in the Senate, she would push for the same in the House to make it law.
“It’s time to knock down the barriers that for too long have blocked female entrepreneurs from doing more business with the federal government,” Meng said. “Women-owned businesses have just as much right to federal contracts as all other businesses do.”
According to a recent study, a failure to reach the 5 percent goal last year alone cost WOSBs nearly $5.7 billion in government contracts.
Amy Williams, chief operating officer of Data Conversation Laboratory, invited the elected officials to her business at 61-18 190th St. in Fresh Meadows to discuss the proposal.
“We’re excited about this legislation as it would enable DCL to substantially increase our federal contracting competitiveness, allowing us to grow our business and bring more technology jobs to Queens,” Williams said.