Women’s Chamber Report: Women’s Business Set-Aside Program Grievously Underutilized

The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce issued the following report detailing the grievous under use of the WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside program by Contracting Officers.  We highlight much needed refinements to the program and make recommendations for Congressional action.  (Click on image at right to view screencast.)

We also provided a letter of support to Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez for her impending legislation, the Women's Procurement Program Improvement Act of 2012 -- which acts upon several of our recommendations and encourage you tocontact your Congressional leaders to tell them of your support for this legislation.

March 20, 2011

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader, U. S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510


The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce delivers this Report to Congress with grave concern over the devastating opportunity losses women-owned businesses are facing year after year due to the failure of the federal government to provide fair access to contracts for women-owned small businesses.  Representing our over 500,000 members (over three-quarters of whom are small business owners), we call upon Congress to take swift and strong action to improve the WOSB/EDWOSB women-owned small business set-aside program and encourage federal agencies to end decades of devastating contracting shortfalls with women-owned firms.

One-third of all businesses in the United States are women-owned.  And yet, the federal government has never met the paltry 5% goal for contracting with women-owned firms. Our firms lose billions of dollars in opportunity every year negatively impacting our businesses, workers, families and communities.

This report highlights the alarming failure of federal Contracting Officers to employ the decade old Women-Owned Small Business Set-Aside Contracting Program (WOSB and EDWOSB) that was finally implemented April 2010.  The data are alarming; strong steps must be taken now to improve the use of the program.

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce is very active working closely with women-owned firms seeking access to federal contracts and the small business offices for the federal agencies. We understand the problems within the program very well and have provided recommendations for improvement of the set-aside program and use of the program by Contracting Officers. We know these program improvements will bring about much needed growth in contracting with ready, willing and able women-owned small businesses. We encourage you to act today.



Margot Dorfman, CEO
U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce


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