The US government awards $400 billion a year in contracts to small business. In December, the Small Business Administration announced new rules to insure that 5% of those contracts would go to businesses owned by females. The problem? Out of 140 industries, only four are listed by the agency as those in which female-owned companies could be preferred for contracts. (A study found that women were underrepresented in a whopping 87% of all the industries where the government awards contracts; so the Women's Chamber Of Commerce sued in 2004.) And speaking of businesses run by women: We put our money where our mouths were and helped finance a Ugandan jewelry maker named Night Kituka via Kiva.org!
Might Kituka requested a loan on January 14th, and as of today enough people have donated to raise $1,650, the amount she needs to increase her stock of supplies. We'll be keeping tabs and report back how she does when we know more.
Female Business Owners Fault New Rules on U.S. Contracts [NY Times]