Tags: female | owned | businesses | federal | contracts | program

GAO: Fed Contract Program for 'Women-Owned' Firms Being Abused

By    |   Monday, 10 Nov 2014 06:24 PM

A Small Business Administration program that is supposed to help female-owned small businesses compete for government contracts frequently helps ineligible firms, according to the federal Government Accountability Office.

In 2012 and 2013, SBA’s own investigators found that more than 40 percent of firms that had previously obtained contracts through the Women-Owned Small Business program should not have been designated as "women-owned small businesses" or "economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses," according to GAO.

In order to participate in the program, small businesses are required to either submit evidence of their eligibility or enlist so-called "third-party certifiers" to make a determination. But the SBA "generally has not overseen" these third-party certifiers and is therefore unable to provide "reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses" are participating, the Washington Examiner reports.

Sometimes businesses pay a fee to a third-party firm, give the company their paperwork, and receive a certificate which they submit to the SBA. But the agency does not require contracting officers to actually assess the validity of documents certifying that small businesses in the program are least 51 percent controlled and owned by a woman.

From April 2011 through May 2014, the program accounted just 0.44 percent of federal contracts that went to small businesses owned by women. Most of the rest won their contracts through other federal set-aside programs, including one aimed at providing contracts to firms in "historically underutilized business zones."

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A Small Business Administration program that is supposed to help female-owned small businesses compete for government contracts frequently helps ineligible firms, according to the federal Government Accountability Office.
female, owned, businesses, federal, contracts, program
231
2014-24-10
Monday, 10 Nov 2014 06:24 PM
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