Finally. . . . .
USWCC, CEO - Margot Dorfman and Members of the House of Representatives Hold Press Conference in Support of Women's Federal Procurement ProgramThe U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce has been working for years to spur the Small Business Administration to implement the over decade-old Congressionally mandated women's set-aside program. We won a claim against the SBA for failure to implement the law -- and kept this issue alive, and under the careful watch of the courts, to assure that the SBA under the Obama Administration move expediently forward towards a full implementation as intended by Congress.
The SBA has finally published the "final rules" for the program -- the federal rules/regulations that will be employed to setup and run the program. And, now we wait another 120 days or so for the implementation process to be completed.
There is nothing for you to do at this time -- as we must simply wait again while the federal government continues inching forward. However, I know you are all very interested in the industries included/excluded and the full administrative scope. You can read the final rule here and view the NAICS codes included here. And, after the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce has carefully reviewed the final rules, we will provide a thorough, detailed analysis.
You may also want to read the article in GovExec.com and this article from the Washington DC Business Journal. And, please watch for continued updates - including the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce analysis and next steps.
I personally want to thank our attorneys at Covington & Burling, LLP -- Linda Morgan (legislative), Sarah Wilson (litigation), Carrie Harney (regulatory), and others - who have worked tirelessly (pro bono) for several years in support of women business owners. (Read more here about their efforts on our behalf.) Without their skilled and committed support, we'd all still be waiting for the SBA to complete more studies.
We thank Judge Reggie B. Walton (United States District Judge for the District of Columbia) for finding in favor of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce claim against the SBA and stating the SBA "... had sabotaged, whether intentional or not, the implementation of a procurement program. . .". Judge Walton's requirements for timely action and continuing reports to the court forced the SBA to keep moving forward towards implementation.
Above (from left) - Margot Dorfman (CEO - USWCC), Bree Onhaizer (Bree's Corporate Imaging), Colleen and Twyla Edwards (MPE Business Forms), Elizabeth Novak (Environmental Waste Specialists)We also thank Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (chair of the House Small Business Committee -- and the original sponsor of the legislation), the 71 members of the House of Representatives who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of our claim against the SBA, Senators Landrieu and Snowe,SBA Administrator Karen Mills, the team at the SBA who have worked to finally complete the final rule, and President Obama for delivering much needed support for women in business.
And, I want to thank each of you who have fought to grow your businesses in the federal sector, written to and testified before Congress, written to the SBA and the President, and spoken with reporters and media. The bottom line is that this effort is all about you - your opportunities, your rights to fair access to federal contracts.
The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, as a truly independent force (funded only by you -- our members and meeting participants without the external influence of large corporate or political funding) will always speak the truth, take the risks, and advocate for your bottom line.
Congratulations to all of us. We are one step closer to accessing federal contracts.
Margot Dorfman, CEO
U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce