Statistics from the National Women’s Business Council show there are 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States. These businesses employ 9.4 million workers and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue. With that said, the federal government has historically awarded fewer than 5% of all government contracts to women-owned businesses.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for that disparity, but some of it may boil down to a lack of awareness. At Rafael Marrero & Company, we know how vital women and minority-owned businesses are to the entire global business ecosystem. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses in the United States. Keep reading to learn more!
SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program aims to help the federal government award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses every year. They also help provide a “level playing field for women business owners.”
These contracts are awarded to specific industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented, including:
- Soybean farming
- Wheat farming
- Corn farming
- Rice farming
- Tobacco farming
- Cotton farming
- Ammunition manufacturing
- Natural gas extraction
- Drilling oil and gas wells
- Commercial bakeries
- Television broadcasting
- Radio stations
- Investment advice
- Passenger car rental
- Formal wear and costume rental
- Offices of lawyers
- Offices of notaries
- Tax preparation services
- Engineering services
- Marketing consulting services
- Human resources consulting services
- Public relations agencies
- Advertising agencies
- Office administrative services
- Greeting card publishers
- Veterinary services
- Travel agencies
- Offices of physicians
- Family planning centers
- Child daycare services
- Beauty shops
To be eligible for the SBA WOSB Federal Contract program, a business must:
- Be a small business according to SBA size standards.
- Become certified as a woman-owned small business. You can apply for certification at certify.sba.govor through an approved third-party certifier.
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizen women.
- Be managed by women in both daily operations and long-term decisions.
The ChallengeHer program is a national initiative to boost federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. This program has a particular focus on the WOSB Federal Contracting Program. ChallengeHer offers free workshops, mentoring, and direct access to government buyers.
The workshops and events that ChallengeHER offers include:
- How to get started navigating federal contracting
- Funding your contract
- Techniques for writing winning proposals
- Understanding federal buyers
Since its inception, the program has educated more than 23,000 women at 75 workshops around the nation. It has also facilitated nearly 6,000 meetings between women small business owners and government officials.
If you can’t make it to an in-person event, ChallengeHer offers an extensive virtual library of resources, accessible with an easy-to-obtain login. Topics include:
- Is the Federal Government Right for My Business?
- Understanding the Federal Language
- Finding Federal Sub Contracting Opportunities
- Working with Government Resource Partners
- Introduction to the GSA Schedule Program
- Increasing Business and Serving Federal Needs During a Crisis
- GSA for Beginners: What You Need to Know, But Didn’t Know to Ask
New York City Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Opportunity
The city of New York offers its own program to help women-owned businesses find federal contracting opportunities. According to the website, this program is designed to promote government contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses — or people who are considered “socially and economically disadvantaged.”
You are encouraged to become certified as a minority or woman-owned and emerging business enterprise to be eligible for the program. Certified firms will then appear in an online directory that the city’s Department of Small Business Services maintains. City agencies use this directory to make outreach efforts and identify and encourage eligible companies to make bids and proposals for government contracts.
Rafael Marrero & Company Can Help
If you are a woman who owns a business and looking for help finding federal contracting opportunities, Rafael Marrero & Company can help. Rafael Marrero is a leading national expert on how to do business with the U.S. Government. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your business to the next level with the help of federal contracts.