Small Business:

Efforts to Provide Federal Procurement Dollars to Women-Owned Businesses

RCED-92-185: Published: Jul 28, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal agencies' requirements and procedures for certifying women-owned small businesses that are seeking federal contracts, focusing on: (1) how federal agencies' contracting goals are established for women-owned small businesses and the success in achieving those goals; (2) what procedures agencies use to certify that such businesses are owned by women; and (3) actions that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is taking to address the problem of women-owned and other small businesses needing certification as disadvantaged business enterprises each time they bid on a different contract.

GAO found that: (1) the Small Business Administration (SBA) negotiates fiscal year contracting goals for women-owned small businesses; (2) 14 of 17 major federal procurement agencies met or exceed SBA contracting goals in fiscal year 1990; (3) legislation requires agencies to provide a percentage of funds for selected procurements to groups including small businesses owned by women; (4) to be eligible for a federal contract award as a small business, firms must certify their status; (5) under the DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, local government agencies that receive DOT assistance grants may independently certify small business status, but the requirements for the program are demanding; and (6) DOT is considering changes to the program regulations to address certification problems and to clarify and update the procedures.

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