When it comes to bidding on government contracts, it truly is a man’s world. The vast majority of business, particularly small sized ones, are owned and operated by males, which means the handful of female small business owners that exist are forced to compete with men of power and influence for lucrative government jobs. The federal government set a goal of awarding 5% of contracts to businesses run by women, but they’ve never even come close to reaching this tiny figure. Some have accused the federal government of dragging its feet with respect to this issue. Politicians often praise small businesses as the backbone of the U.S. economy, yet their rhetoric doesn’t match their actual efforts. Businesses owned by women and racial/ethnic minorities have always faced inequity to varying degrees within the public and private sectors, although the federal government tries to set an example by creating programs to benefit these companies directly. These existing programs are all well and good, so long as they receive the attention they deserve. Thus far, the fed’s enthusiasm has been lackluster at best.
Hopefully, this unfortunate state of affairs will change for the better as a new set of guidelines pertaining to contracts and women owned businesses is close to approval by the Small Business Association. Basically, these rules stipulate that certain contracts will be set aside for female business owners exclusively, so men won’t get a chance to bid on them. This may encourage healthy and fair competition among business women, and it will surely boost the government’s dismal statistics. Supporters are praising this as a long awaited blessing and pointing out that many female entrepreneurs will collaborate rather than try to one up each other. The spirit of shared struggle, coupled with an unwavering commitment to succeed could foster lasting partnerships that turns rivals into colleagues.
This announcement is not without its critics, naturally. Opponents state that this is tantamount to the type of discrimination it is designed to counteract. Government quota systems have always been controversial and often draw fire from right leaning citizens and advocacy groups. Nevertheless, we suggest our female readers take advantage of this opportunity because it will definitely boost your revenue. Be forewarned: there is a ton of paperwork involved. But receiving a government contract usually leads to more of the same, so once you get past the first hurdles, you should be able to develop a mutually beneficially relationship with the SBA. For more information about this and any other government grants, contracts, and benefits, visit the Small Business Association’s website: http://www.sba.gov/