15 USC Sec. 631 01/23/00
TITLE 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 14A - AID TO SMALL BUSINESS
Sec. 631. Declaration of policy
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EX. ORD. NO. 12138. NATIONAL WOMEN'S BUSINESS
ENTERPRISE POLICY AND NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR WOMEN'S BUSINESS ENTERPRISE
Ex. Ord. No. 12138, May 18, 1979, 44 F.R. 29637, as amended by Ex.
Ord. No. 12608, Sept. 9, 1987, 52 F.R. 34617, provided:
In response to the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Women
Business Owners and congressional findings that recognize:
1. the significant role which small business and women entrepreneurs
can play in promoting full employment and balanced growth in our economy;
2. the many obstacles facing women entrepreneurs; and
3. the need to aid and stimulate women's business enterprise;
By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of
America, in order to create a National Women's Business Enterprise Policy and to prescribe
arrangements for developing, coordinating and implementing a national program for women's
business enterprise, it is ordered as follows:
1-1. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND
1-101. Within the constraints of statutory authority and as
otherwise permitted by law:
(a) Each department and agency of the Executive Branch shall take
appropriate action to facilitate, preserve and strengthen women's business enterprise and
to ensure full participation by women in the free enterprise system.
(b) Each department and agency shall take affirmative action in
support of women's business enterprise in appropriate programs and activities including
but not limited to:
(1) management, technical, financial and procurement assistance,
(2) business-related education, training, counseling information
(c) Each department or agency empowered to extend Federal financial
assistance to any program or activity shall issue regulations requiring the recipient of
such assistance to take appropriate affirmative action in support of women's business
enterprise and to prohibit actions or policies which discriminate against women's business
enterprise on the ground of sex. For purposes of this subsection, Federal financial
assistance means assistance extended by way of grant, cooperative agreement, loan or
contract other than a contract of insurance or guaranty. These regulations shall prescribe
sanctions for noncompliance. Unless otherwise specified by law, no agency sanctions shall
be applied until the agency or department concerned has advised the appropriate person or
persons of the failure to comply with its regulations and has determined that compliance
cannot be secured by voluntary means.
1-102. For purposes of this Order, affirmative action may include,
but is not limited to, creating or supporting new programs responsive to the special needs
of women's business enterprise, establishing incentives to promote business or
business-related opportunities for women's business enterprise, collecting and
disseminating information in support of women's business enterprise, and insuring to
women's business enterprise knowledge of and ready access to business-related services and
resources. If, in implementing this Order, an agency undertakes to use or to require
compliance with numerical set-asides, or similar measures, it shall state the purpose of
such measure, and the measure shall be designed on the basis of pertinent factual findings
of discrimination against women's business enterprise and the need for such measure.
1-103. In carrying out their responsibilities under Section 1-1, the
departments and agencies shall consult the Department of Justice, and the Department of
Justice shall provide legal guidance concerning these responsibilities.
1-2. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ON WOMEN'S
1-201. To help insure that the actions ordered above are carried out
in an effective manner, I hereby establish the Interagency Committee on Women's Business
Enterprise (hereinafter called the Committee).
1-202. The Chairperson of the Committee (hereinafter called the
Chairperson) shall be appointed by the President. The Chairperson shall be the presiding
officer of the Committee and shall have such duties as prescribed in this Order or by the
Committee in its rules of procedure. The Chairperson may also represent his or her
department, agency or office on the Committee.
1-203. The Committee shall be composed of the Chairperson and other
members appointed by the heads of departments and agencies from among high level
policy-making officials. In making these appointments, the recommendations of the
Chairperson shall be taken into consideration. The following departments and agencies and
such other departments and agencies as the Chairperson shall select shall be members of
the Committee: the Departments of Agriculture; Commerce; Defense; Energy; Health and Human
Services; Housing and Urban Development; Interior; Justice; Labor; Transportation;
Treasury; the Federal Trade Commission; General Services Administration; National Science
Foundation; Office of Federal Procurement Policy; and the Small Business Administration.
These members shall have a vote. Nonvoting members shall include the Executive Director of
the Committee and at least one but no more than three representatives from the Executive
Office of the President appointed by the President.
1-204. The Committee shall meet at least quarterly at the call of
the Chairperson, and at such other times as may be determined to be useful according to
the rules of procedure adopted by the Committee.
1-205. The Administrator of the Small Business Administration shall
provide an Executive Director and adequate staff and administrative support for the
Committee. The staff shall be located in the Office of the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of
the Small Business Administration, or in such other office as may be established
specifically to further the policies expressed herein. Nothing in this Section prohibits
the use of other properly available funds and resources in support of the Committee.
1-3. FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
The Committee shall in a manner consistent with law:
1-301. Promote, coordinate and monitor the plans, programs and
operations of the departments and agencies of the Executive Branch which may contribute to
the establishment, preservation and strengthening of women's business enterprise. It may,
as appropriate, develop comprehensive interagency plans and specific program goals for
women's business enterprise with the cooperation of the departments and agencies.
1-302. Establish such policies, definitions, procedures and
guidelines to govern the implementation, interpretation and application of this order, and
generally perform such functions and take such steps as the Committee may deem to be
necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes and carry out the provisions hereof.
1-303. Promote the mobilization of activities and resources of State
and local governments, business and trade associations, private industry, colleges and
universities, foundations, professional organizations, and volunteer and other groups
toward the growth of women's business enterprise, and facilitate the coordination of the
efforts of these groups with those of the departments and agencies.
1-304. Make an annual assessment of the progress made in the Federal
Government toward assisting women's business enterprise to enter the mainstream of
business ownership and to provide recommendations for future actions to the President.
1-305. Convene and consult as necessary with persons inside and
outside government to develop and promote new ideas concerning the development of women's
1-306. Consider the findings and recommendations of government and
private sector investigations and studies of the problems of women entrepreneurs, and
promote further research into such problems.
1-307. Design a comprehensive and innovative plan for a joint
Federal and private sector effort to develop increased numbers of new women-owned
businesses and larger and more successful women-owned businesses. The plan should set
specific reasonable targets which can be achieved at reasonable and identifiable costs and
should provide for the measurement of progress towards these targets at the end of two and
five years. Related outcomes such as income and tax revenues generated, jobs created, new
products and services introduced or new domestic or foreign markets created should also be
projected and measured in relation to costs wherever possible. The Committee should submit
the plan to the President for approval within six months of the effective date of this
1-4. OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND
1-401. The head of each department and agency shall designate a high
level official to have the responsibility for the participation and cooperation of that
department or agency in carrying out this Executive order. This person may be the same
person who is the department or agency's representative to the Committee.
1-402. To the extent permitted by law, each department and agency
upon request by the Chairperson shall furnish information, assistance and reports and
otherwise cooperate with the Chairperson and the Committee in the performance of their
functions hereunder. Each department or agency shall ensure that systematic data
collection processes are capable of providing the Committee current data helpful in
evaluating and promoting the efforts herein described.
1-403. The officials designated under Section 1-401, when so
requested, shall review the policies and programs of the women's business enterprise
program, and shall keep the Chairperson informed of proposed budget, plans and programs of
their departments or agencies affecting women's business enterprise.
1-404. Each Federal department or agency, within constraints of law,
shall continue current efforts to foster and promote women's business enterprise and to
support the program herein set forth, and shall cooperate with the Chairperson and the
Committee in increasing the total Federal effort.
1-501. The Chairperson shall, promptly after the close of the fiscal
year, submit to the President a full report of the activities of the Committee hereunder
during the previous fiscal year. Further, the Chairperson shall, from time to time, submit
to the President the Committee's recommendations for legislation or other action to
promote the purposes of this Order.
1-502. Each Federal department and agency shall report to the
Chairperson as hereinabove provided on a timely basis so that the Chairperson and the
Committee can consider such reports for the Committee report to the President.
For the purposes of this Order, the following definitions shall
1-601. ''Women-owned business'' means a business that is at least 51
percent owned by a woman or women who also control and operate it. ''Control'' in this
context means exercising the power to make policy decisions. ''Operate'' in this context
means being actively involved in the day-to-day management.
1-602. ''Women's business enterprise'' means a woman-owned business
or businesses or the efforts of a woman or women to establish, maintain or develop such a
business or businesses.
1-603. Nothing in subsections 1-601 or 1-602 of this Section (1-6)
should be construed to prohibit the use of other definitions of a woman-owned business or
women's business enterprise by departments and agencies of the Executive Branch where
other definitions are deemed reasonable and useful for any purpose not inconsistent with
the purposes of this Order. Wherever feasible, departments and agencies should use the
definition of a woman-owned business in subsection 1-601 above for monitoring performance
with respect to women's business enterprise in order to assure comparability of data
throughout the Federal Government.
Nothing in this Order shall be construed as limiting the meaning or
effect of any existing Executive order.