The National Women’s Business Council is thrilled to see the important provision of sole source authority given to the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program included in the final text of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Congress on December 12, 2014. This provision is a top priority for the Council. Sole source authority is an important tool for both women-owned businesses and government agencies; it will increase the access that women-owned businesses have to millions of dollars in contracts in the federal marketplace, and will enable more government agencies to reach that 5% procurement goal for women-owned businesses.

The Council has similarly championed improvements to the WOSB Federal Contracting Program and welcomes the additional program modifications that Congress also calls for within the NDAA, including: 1) WOSB certification by either a federal agency, the SBA, state governments or third-party certifiers approved by SBA; 2) accelerated process of identification by the SBA of the eligible industries. These are program adjustments that will promote the success and sustainability of the WOSB Federal Contracting Program.

This legislation is significant, given the tremendous opportunity to increase access for women-owned small businesses within the federal contracting process. We look forward to the U.S. Small Business Administration, expediently implementing the changes so that more women-owned businesses can thrive, grow our economy, and create new job opportunities for more Americans. Now is the time to level the playing field for women small business owners.