Women-Owned Small Businesses Gain in Share of Federal Procurements

This post, written by David Wyld, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum

There’s good news for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) in a recent report from OPEN, the small business initiative from American Express. According to the research, female-owned firms have increased their percentage share of federal contracting dollars, providing important sources of income for these small businesses.

The report from OPEN revealed several positive aspects on the growth of female-led firms in government contracting. First, it showed that women-owned small businesses’ share of federal contracts—both in total dollar amounts and in the share of total contracting dollars—has grown over the past four years, in spite of the downward trends in federal procurement overall. Specifically, WOSBs accounted for 4% of all small business federal contracts in FY2012, growing from 3.5% in FY2009. In dollar terms, women-owned small businesses garnered $16.2 billion in federal contracts in FY2012, which represented a $500 million dollar increase over the total for WOSBs in FY2009. The OPEN report also analyzed the contract awards made to women-owned small businesses. This analysis showed that WOSB were most active in technology, health services, construction and manufacturing.

Finally, the OPEN report also revealed an interesting stat on the “learning curve” for female business owners. It showed that female business owners won their first federal contract in less time (20 months) than their male counterparts (25 months) and after fewer unsuccessful bid attempts (4.3 for WOSBs versus 5 for male-owned firms).

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