Pres. Obama Signs Law to Help Women-Owned Businesses

NDAAAccording to the U.S. Small Business Administration, President Barack Obama has signed a new law that will make it easier for women-owned businesses to do business.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will help ?women-owned small businesses to earn their fair share
of the federal marketplace and gain economic opportunities.?

The news comes on the heels of Maria Contreras-Sweet?s testimony in July about the current state of women-owned businesses. ?Women-owned businesses are growing at an unprecedented rate. More than 1 in 4 U.S. companies is owned or led by a woman, and these firms employ more than 7.8 million Americans. While those statistics are an indication of progress, women still do not have equal access to economic opportunity?women remain underrepresented in the C-suite, have trouble accessing capital, and face barriers in winning contracts. It is critical that everyone in this room, and across the nation, commit to clearing these obstacles to enable our country to reach its full economic potential,? said Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. SBA.

Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO, Women?s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), says that it comes down to certification. ?Currently, the government accepts both self-certification as well as third-party certification for women who are doing business under the Women-Owned Small Business act. And as part of the government?s auditing, it has discovered that the program would be more effective with third-party oversight. So part of what has passed in this act [NDAA] was the desire to also implement third-party certification,? Prince-Eason told

She continues, ?We believe that the passage of the act has actually done two different things: the first part is that it?s brought the Women-Owned Small Business program in parity with other programs like the NDAA program and other programs that assist. And all of those programs have not had caps on them and have been set up to, specifically, ensure that business is going where it?s supposed to be going, in this case to women-owned businesses.? The second part is that they have care and concern over fraud, and that they are now going to require third-party certification.?

The largest third-party certifier in the nation responsible for about 76 percent of third-party certification, WBENC is one of only four certifiers. Prince?Eason says that with this new requirement, she would expect that it additional certifiers will probably be added.

(For a related article on women-owned businesses, CLICK HERE.)