SBA Office Urges More Data on Women-Owned Firms
The Small Business Administration should consider revisiting its recent proposal that reclassifies how women-owned small businesses could better get a slice of the government-contracting pie.
So says the SBA's Office of Advocacy, an independent office housed within the agency, in a letter released Wednesday.
The SBA's proposal released at the end of last year met a hostile audience. It would limit the number of governmental contracts awarded to women entrepreneurs by requiring women-owned businesses to show they were underrepresented in thousands of industries and direct discrimination by a government agency to qualify for protected status.
The new rule would extend the special status to women-owned businesses in just four categories: kitchen cabinet manufacturing, engraving, certain motor vehicles and intelligence.
The Office of Advocacy's letter expresses concern that SBA's proposal to make a finding of discrimination prior to using a set-aside process of women-owned small business contracts "may actually shift the burden onto the WOSB community to compel agency action on research, analysis, and ultimately, a finding of discrimination."
The office recommends that the final rule should provide cost data on the effort required by these women-owned firms if they're expected to play a role in compelling agencies to determine evidence of discrimination.
The letter said the SBA "may wish to undertake a more comprehensive data gathering process. SBA would benefit from a process that can generate more data and information useful for the analysis required by agencies to find discrimination."
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Posted by: Judy Bradt, Principal, Summit Insight | February 25, 2008 9:38 AM
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