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Women-Owned Small Business Rule Enacted

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 09, 2011 8:52 AM

For women, small business may be a chance to work in a female-friendly workplace. But for many of those women, small business is also difficult to see to fruition.

Women-owned small businesses have a hard time in the market place, facing closed doors and glass ceilings. This is why many women in small business are praising the implementation of the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program.

WOSB sets aside government contracts for economically disadvantaged women-owned businesses. To qualify, a small business must be at least 51% women-owned, and managed primarily by a woman or women, details The Louisiana Weekly. There are also specific financial requirements to qualify as disadvantaged.

While some are hailing the program as a big step--it took a lawsuit and 15 years to get started. The Washington Post reports that others feel that the program does not do enough for women. Small business is competitive, and with 83 industries eligible for the program, the ability to get a federal contract under WOSB is ultra-competitive too. Others balk at the amounts of the contracts--only $3 to $5 million--the paper also notes.

For now, the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program is law. But the question remains for how long? There have been several legal challenges to similar set-asides for minorities in federal contracts. In one decision, the Supreme Court affirmed a requirement that contractors who receive federal contracts hire at least 10% minorities on public works projects. In another, the Court ruled against a WOSB-like contract set-aside program specifically for minority contractors.

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