Fighting for Five: Business Women March Forward during Women’s History Month

Release Number: 
16-0323KY
Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Contact: 
michael.ashcraft@sba.gov or 502-582-5971

By Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Last fiscal year (2015), the federal government made history by awarding the highest percentage of contracting dollars to small businesses, supporting more than 500,000 jobs in neighborhoods across the U.S. Almost $91 billion dollars have been injected into the economy via small business contracts, and $17.8 billion of those dollars were awarded to women-owned small firms.

Just in time for Women’s History Month 2016, for the first time ever, the federal government met its 5% statutory goal for contracts awarded to women-owned small businesses.

Read Kentucky women-owned small business success stories like Puzzles Fun Dome and Puzzles Academy and Strategic Communications at www.sba.gov/ky.

Meeting this goal means 5% is our floor going forward – not our ceiling. According to a recent Census Bureau report, women’s business ownership has increased 27% over the past five years. Women now employ eight million American workers, and their businesses generate nearly $1.4 trillion dollars in revenue.

The federal government also set a new high by awarding more than 10% of contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, more than doubling the 5% goal set by Congress. This includes a growing number of minority-owned firms. Uncle Sam also broke the record for contract awards to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, totaling nearly 4% of the federal spend, 33% above the goal set by Congress. Our veterans fought heroically on the battlefield, and now they are fighting to grow our economy here at home.

Since his first year in office, President Obama has emphasized the importance of small businesses kick-starting economic recovery. As a result, in the last seven years the federal government has awarded more than $640 billion dollars in federal contracts to small employers. To put that in perspective: it represents a $125 billion dollar increase since 2009, and small business procurement has already supported four million American jobs.

Entrepreneurs are nimble and ground-breaking partners for the federal government. Through small business contracting, the federal government spurs small business growth and innovation, while supporting the economic security of the nation. To keep America strong, we must keep our local economies strong, and a major role we can play to support small employers is to give them more business. I salute our nation’s women-owned small businesses in honor of Women’s History Month and cheer as they continue to make history.