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Barry McVay's FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: May 25, 2000

FROM: Barry McVay, CPCM

SUBJECT: Executive Order 13157, Increasing Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses

SOURCE: Federal Register; May 25, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 102, page 34033

AGENCIES: The President

ACTION: Issuance of Executive Order

SYNOPSIS: "To strengthen the executive branch's commitment to increased opportunities for women-owned small businesses," President Clinton ordered federal agencies on May 23, 2000, to "take the steps necessary to meet or exceed the 5% government-wide goal for participation in procurement by women-owned small businesses."

EDITOR'S NOTE: On October 8, 1999, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued Policy Letter 99-1, Small Business Procurement Goals, which established an aggregate government-wide goal of 23% for contracts with small business, small disadvantaged business (5%), women-owned small businesses (5%), and "historically underutilized business zone" (HUBZone) small businesses (3%).

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: According to statistics for Fiscal Year 1999 from the Federal Procurement Data Center, awards to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) accounted for 2.47% of all federal contract awards. This is one-half the 5% government-wide goal established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and reflected in OFPP Policy Letter 99-1. To increase awards to WOSBs, the president has directed federal agencies to take the following actions:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 5% WOSB contracting goal has existed for many years, but it has been largely ignored by most agencies. One of the problems is that no "WOSB set-asides" are authorized by statute or regulation, so it is hard for agencies to "target" acquisitions specifically for WOSBs. "Outreach" only goes so far in increasing contract awards. Unless WOSB set-asides become a reality, it will be a long time before the federal government attains the 5% WOSB goal.

Besides, some of these "requirements" are already being implemented. For example, the Electronic Posting System (EPS) (http://www.eps.gov/) looks like it might be designated by OMB as the government-wide portal for information about acquisition opportunities and solicitations, so it is difficult to see what SBA's role will be. As another example, SBA already has its own Pro-Net (Procurement Marketing and Access Network) (http://pro-net.sba.gov), which is an electronic database of small businesses interested in federal contracting and subcontracting opportunities, so President Clinton needs to be more forthcoming about what he has in mind.

My conclusion is that this "feel good" executive order was issued by the president to give Democrats something to point to during the upcoming elections. If it helps WOSBs win more federal contracts -- great, but I expect the executive order's effect on WOSB contract awards will be negligible.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry McVay at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to BarryMcVay@FedGovContracts.com.

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