Women and minority owned businesses slow to receive agency contracts

September 24, 2012 at 10:51 am 3 comments

Picking up from last week’s post on the experience of women and minority owned businesses in Charlotte, the Washington Post reported yesterday that some federal agencies have also been slow in increasing their procurement contracts with women and minority owned businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established a program last year that allows agencies to set aside procurement in industries where woman and minority owned businesses are underrepresented.

Prior to this program, 18 out of 24 of the agencies were already meeting their goal of awarding 5 percent of contracts to minority and women owned businesses. Recently, however, these awards have decreased– by almost $1 billion in 2011. One reason is that not all industries are included in the list of ‘underrepresented’ industries, including some of the biggest ones such as information technology and professional services. On the other side, businesses often have difficulty figuring out whether or not they qualify.

Increased competition also has played a role– with fewer government contracts, minority and women owned businesses face even more formidable barriers. As the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce stated, “When the masses catch a cold, we get pneumonia.”

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Small Business. Tags: , , , .

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