02 MAR 2023

NEW DATA: 99% of Women-Owned Small Businesses Believe the Federal Government Could Do More to Support their Businesses

  • With current programs and services not meeting the needs of Women-owned businesses, 72% of female small business owners give the federal government a “C” or below grade for effectiveness

NEW YORK, NY, MARCH 2, 2023 – As we enter Women’s History Month, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is releasing new survey data showing that 99% of Women-owned small businesses believe the federal government could do more to support them and 89% said the playing field for female small businesses is not level compared to male-owned businesses. Furthermore, the new survey data finds that current programs and services offered to Women-owned businesses are not meeting their needs, with 72% of respondents giving the federal government a “C” or below grade for effectiveness.

One such program, the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract program, was created with a stated purpose to help level the playing field for female small business owners. However, the federal government's goal to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to Women-owned small businesses each year has only been met twice since it was authorized in 1994.

Furthermore, there are complex barriers to entry to get certified. According to participants, a key challenge with the certification program is that the application process is difficult to navigate, and small businesses aren’t aware of many of its benefits.

  • Of the 36% of women who said they were certified, more than half (58%) said the application process was difficult and 42% said the time spent applying was not worth the benefits.
  • Of the 64% who are not certified, the top reasons they cited included: Not familiar with the certification or its benefits (25%); Not convinced the benefits of certification are worth it (24%); Process is too time consuming (18%).

A Solution: When asked how the federal government could better support female entrepreneurs, the top response was to improve the marketing of resources and programs for Women-owned small businesses. Female small business owners also said they want to see better support services for women seeking to do business with the federal government, as well as better access to capital.

“The playing field for female entrepreneurs has never been level,” said Shaniece Bennett, founder of Accutrak Consulting and Accounting Services and a member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, there’s no better time to shine a light on the unique challenges faced by female small business owners and the many ways we can continue to grow our businesses. A good place to start is by ensuring the programs offered by the federal government are accessible and working.”

“There are a lot of good programs out there, but we need to ensure female small business owners have the resources, time, and awareness to take advantage of them,” said Janetta King, a Vice President at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “That’s why we’re calling on Congress to modernize the Small Business Administration for the first time since 2000.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is calling on Congress to reauthorize the Small Business Administration for the first time in 23 years. Modernization would improve marketing and communication tools with small businesses and update technology to help streamline application processes.

This data is based on a survey of 898 women-owned small businesses and participants of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. It was conducted from February 22-27, 2023, and included small business owners from 47 states and Puerto Rico.



About 10,000 Small Businesses Voices
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for program participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.