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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 23, 2000


                      FOR WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES

Today, President Clinton issued an Executive Order reaffirming the Administration's commitment to increasing opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses. The Clinton-Gore Administration has helped small businesses succeed in a competitive marketplace, especially business owners who have been historically underserved or excluded.

The Executive Order would require departments and agencies to develop long-term comprehensive strategies to expand opportunities for women-owned small businesses. Included in these measures are: (a) designating a senior acquisition official to identify and promote contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses; (b) requiring contracting officers, to the maximum extent practicable, to include women-owned small businesses in competitive acquisitions; (c) implementing mentor-protege programs to include women-owned firms; (d) and offering industry-wide as well as industry-specific outreach, training, and technical assistance programs for women-owned small businesses.

Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of all businesses and staying in business longer. Based on current calculations using the latest data from the Census Bureau, SBA's Office of Advocacy estimates that there are 9.1 million women-owned firms today, employing 27.5 million people and contributing $3.6 trillion in sales and revenue to the U.S. economy.

The Executive Order signed today by the President builds on recent advances by the SBA and other federal agencies to increase opportunities for women-owned businesses: