(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), the lead Democrats on the Senate and House Small Business Committees, applauded theannouncement by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that the federal government has, for the first time, reached its two-decade-old goal of awarding five percent of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses (WOSB).

“Today’s announcement marks an important step for women-owned small businesses in federal contracting. However, as recent reportsshow, there is a real, unfair disadvantage for women entrepreneurs competing for federal contracts. I’m pleased the SBA plans to expand the number of contracts eligible for the WOSB program, but it’s clear that more must be done. I’ll continue my work to encourage women’s business ownership and give women entrepreneurs more opportunities to win federal contracts.” –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“When it comes to meeting the Women-Owned Business contracting goal, we are really talking about empowering female entrepreneurs.  For too long the federal marketplace was an ‘old boys club’ where large firms won far more than their share of federal contracts – shutting out women businesses.  In that regard, today’s announcement is certainly significant and positive news.  We still have a long way to go -- but this news marks a step in the right direction.”  - Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Committee on Small Business.

A recent federal report showed that the odds of a women-owned small business receiving a federal contract are 21 percent lower than other businesses. Senator Shaheen and Rep. Velázquez helped lead an effort get legislation signed into law that would help to help federal agencies meet the goal of awarding 5 percent of all federal contracts to WOSBs.  Although women make up more than half of the U.S. population, only about 30 percent of businesses are owned by women in the United States. Encouraging additional contracting for WOSBs is important to helping women-owned small businesses grow and succeed.