11:26 AM May 21, 2013
By Lynn Bunim
Dr. Yanira Cruz, Executive Director of National Hispanic Council on Aging, shared exciting news about seniors adopting technology to better their health. Since one of Women Impacting Public Policy's (WIPP) basic economic principles relates to healthcare and more specifically to establishing an interconnected, nationwide health technology system, we wanted to share Dr. Cruz' comments. Please see the WIPP Economic Blueprint.
A recent Pew study showed that 53 percent of those 64 and older are online. Many of them are using social networking sites, too. That same study revealed that seniors between the ages of 55-64 use smartphones, and AARP recently reported that 90 percent of people 50 and older own some type of mobile technology.
For fifty years now, May has been older Americans Month. Seniors are not just looking back. They are looking to the future too and, defying all stereotypes, are embracing the high speed broadband tools and technology of the 21st century with enthusiasm and aplomb.
Technological know-how has been increased across every age group, but even as these broadband-enabled devices and capabilities change our methods of communicating and ways to access information, some things remain the same: We all still want opportunities to improve and enhance our quality of life. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that our seniors have recognized wireless technologies and broadband-enabled innovations as important tools for achieving these common goals.
As the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), Dr. Cruz has been an advocate for healthy equity. She reports that she is particularly pleased that our seniors are incorporating new broadband technologies into their daily lives. Advances in telecommunications technologies deliver many essential benefits to seniors, especially to those in minority communities or in rural areas. At the NHCOA, we have recently had some exciting chances to share and learn about the many health care opportunities made possible by these technological innovations.
The recent National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) annual conference included a panel discussion titled "Using Technology to serve Hard-to-Reach Populations." NHCOA participated in that discussion, and we presented information about the obstacles that often prevent access to health care. These "hard to reach" populations include members of minority groups and rural residents, and these seniors often struggle to get quality health care due to location and geographical distance, as well as, sometimes, language and cultural barriers.
For Seniors in minority populations that a disproportionately higher risk of serious diseases and risk factors, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, new technological tools can play a vital role in combating these chronic conditions and eliminating health disparities. Additionally, rural residents also contend with a shortage of primary care physicians. For many of our elderly, minority, and rural communities, these factors lead to declining health, reduced quality of life, and shortened life expectancies.
A number of health apps, some specifically geared toward minority or senior populations, can help patients with general health concerns as well as those with specific conditions or diseases. Newly developed technologies have presented improved ways for our seniors to live independently. Personal emergency response devices, special shoes that track mobility and predict unsteadiness, and pill bottles that alert patients with sound and light reminders can all play a role in helping our aging and minority populations enjoy enhanced quality of life.
Revolutionary health technologies have the potential to improve health and quality of life for our aging population, in particular. However, these innovations depend on the availability of a robust telecommunications infrastructure. To increase the availability of these health care technologies and encourage the creation of new ones, there must be continued deployment of modern broadband networks that can accomplish this vital task. Upgrading and expanding our nation's networks will ensure access to these and other life-enhancing technologies for all Americans, so our seniors can thrive, and we can celebrate their wisdom for years to come.
Here is Dr. Cruz full report "Seniors adopting tech to better their health."
12:25 PM May 15, 2013
By Rose Wang, Founder and CEO, Binary Group
The Business owner landscape has changed dramatically over the last twenty years. Women are creating more businesses, employing more workers and generating more income growth than ever, as demonstrated by these statistics:
- More women-owned businesses. There are an estimated 10.6 million women-owned businesses -- up from 6.4 million almost twenty years ago*
- Women-owned firms have done better in revenue growth. Men-owned firms grew at half the rate of women-owned firms between 1997 and 2011**
- More and more females are starting businesses, and in non-traditional areas including technology, engineering, healthcare, and construction**
- Women are hiring more employees. Between 1997 and 2002, women-owned firms increased their employment by 70,000, whereas firms owned by men lost 1 million employees.*
- Workforces of women-owned firms show more gender equity. Women business owners overall employ a roughly balanced workforce (52% women, 48% men), while men business owners empty 38% women and 62% men on average.*
- Women account for most income growth. Almost all income growth in the United States over the past 15-20 years came from women.*
Women Mean Business
According to the Center for Women's Business Research 2009 study. "the economic impact of women owned business (51% or more) in the United States is $3 trillion annually and job creation or maintenance of more than 23 million jobs --16% of all US jobs".
Many of these women business owners are Federal contractors. The Federal Government established a 5% goal for procurement with women-owned small businesses (roughly at 3% now). In early 2013, a major improvement to the program, which was just signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (FY13), removes the dollar award caps on the women-owned small business (WOSB) procurement program. With these policy changes and the current administration's focus on creating new jobs and income growth, one would think that agencies would be trying to meet or exceed the WOSB 5% goal.
Federal Government Report Card
According to the preliminary 2012 Research Report data on the newly implemented WOSB program, recently made available by national Women's Business Council (NWBC), women-owned small businesses are not getting their hare of WOSB set-aside contract $. In fact, out of the top five Federal Government agencies (DoD, GSA, VA, DoJ, and DoI) with substantial SB set-aside programs, WOSB set-aside contracts are at an average of 0.12% of the total set-aside contracts.
The Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) procurement program was signed into law in 2000 and implemented by SBA inn 2011. Why is the program so important? It's all about job creation. By 2018, the bureau of Labor Statistics projects that small businesses will create 9.7 million new jobs, with approximately 5 million to 5.5 million of those being created by women-owned businesses. The represents over half of the new jobs in the small business sector and one third of the total new jobs that will be created nationwide over the next eight years.
Shrinking the Gap
Corporations have used pay incentives and management by objective methods to motivate C-level executives to achieve corporate goals. CEOs are held accountable and receive pay-for-performance incentives for achieving revenue,profit and hiring goals. If they do not achieve their goals, they do not get paid -- and in some cases, they may even lose their job.
Currently, the SBA uses an annual Procurement Scorecard as an assessment tool to measure how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime and sub-contractual goals, providing accurate and transparent contracting data and reporting agency-specific progress. The Scorecard includes goals for women-owned small businesses.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was designed to help Federal agencies achieve small business goals, including steps that the Leader of an agency should take to ensure that members of the senior executive service(SES) who are responsible for acquisition, and any member of official acquires services or supplies, directs agency organizations to acquire services or supplies, oversees acquisition officials, including program managers, contracting officers, and other acquisition workforce personnel responsible for formulating and approving acquisition strategies and plans, and other members of the senior executive service, assume responsibility for the agency's success in achieving small business contracting goals and percentages by
(1) promoting a climate or environment that is responsive to small business concerns;
(2) communicating the importance of achieving the agency's small business contracting goals; and
(3) encouraging small business awareness, outreach, and support.
Promoting, communicating and encouraging personnel to reach set aside goals is great on paper, but where is the accountability? How does this ensure that the 5% goal for women-owned business set asides is actually achieved? Most importantly, how do these steps motivate agency Leaders and everyone involved in acquisition and contracting to set aside contracts that have real$ value and offer opportunities for WOSB across every industry, versus just checking the box' with set asides that are very small in value and provide opportunities in limited 'service' categories? The reality is they don't.
Pay for Performance
What if the same pay incentive principles already known to work in the private sector were applied in the Federal agencies for executive leadership and all contracting and acquisition personnel involved in procuring products and services? Incentives have been proven to work not only in the corporate arena, but have worked to encourage consumers to lose weight, patients to visit doctors and parents to start college savings plans. Why wouldn't it work to help Federal agencies reach small business and WOSB set-aside goals?
Recently, I was meeting with a SADBU representative, and they ere thrilled to have completed their very first WOSB set aside. Many contracting officers want to do the right thing, however, adding a sense of urgency -- pay incentive for reaching goals and consequences for falling short - may significantly change the practices of underperforming agencies in the number and value of set asides going WOSB.
Small businesses are just as competitive in performing work as large public traded companies and women-owned business just as effective as their male counterparts -- sometimes even better, as smaller businesses can be nimble and adapt to change quickly, while neutral gender leadership teams can outperform companies that have leadership teams that are one-sided.
By ensuring WOSB set aside goals are met at every agency will ultimately lead to better job creation and higher income growth. Adding pay-for-performance incentives for leaders and all acquisition and contracting personnel will give agencies the motivation needed to shift a larger pool of contracting dollar to women-owned businesses, exponentially benefiting employment rates and the economy.
That's one small step for (wo)man (owned businesses), one giant leap for the economy.
*November 16,2011, Amy Kenigsberg, Sparxoo Blog
**The American Express OPEN state of women-Owned Business Report, published March 2011
2:30 PM May 7, 2013
Women Impacting Public Policy exists to give women entrepreneurs a seat at the legislative roundtable in our nation's capital; and WIPP members nation-wide are stepping up to fill that seat. No matter how many boots we have on the ground in Washington, there is nothing more powerful for Members of Congress than hearing from their own constituents, so our members have been meeting with their Representatives in their home districts.
Members have met with their Senators and Representatives to share how the policies manufactured in DC can affect their lives as small business owners. In addition to sharing how legislation affects entrepreneurs, our members are also sharing some policy guidelines for important issues. Chief among the topics discussed during these meetings are procurement and access to capital.
WIPP is dedicated to building a robust Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSB) that will allow the government to reach and hopefully exceed its 5% goal for contracting to women-owned businesses. In FY12, the first year of the WOSB program, only $72.5 million was awarded to women-owned businesses - that is less than the cost of a single drone. With the recent lifting of the contract award limits on the WOSB program we expect this program to successfully do what it was intended: help women do business with the world's largest customer, he federal government.
Another area of policy that needs attention I access to capital. Every time we survey our vast array of members, access to capital is continually atop the list of concerns for small business owners. Our members have used their meetings as a forum for discussion toward addressing the dearth of capital for our entrepreneurs; to that end they have helped us urge Congress to take the following steps to free up much needed capital: One, raise the current cap on credit union lending to small businesses. Two, urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to promulgate rules to allow crowdfunding to thrive. Three, support the SBA Microloan program. Four, increase funding or much needed financial business training for women-owned businesses through programs funded through the SBA and the Department of Agriculture.
Bringing these messages to congress will no only help alleviate the impediments to growth set on our businesses today, but will also help shape the policies of tomorrow. Together with the support of our partners, the powerful advocacy of our members and the cooperation of our Representatives of Congress, we will unleash the power of America's fastest growing economic segment - women entrepreneurs.
By Cielo Villasenor, WIPP Government Relations
11:44 PM April 28, 2013
By Barbara Kasoff
A few weeks ago I had the chance to spend some time talking to the people at MyHealthteams. I began talking with them for a couple of reasons: first, because of a series WIPP is doing on chronic disease, and second because in my family there are two members with chronic disease - autism and breast cancer. I know first hand the loneliness, anxiety and frustration that so man people experience every day. I asked them to tell me about their work, I took a tour of their sites and I was overwhelmed with what I saw. Here's a blog I asked them to write sharing the information about MyHealthteams. Let me know what you think!
Talk to anyone impacted by a chronic condition - autism, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer - whatever disease or condition, they will all tell you it's not easy. It's not easy finding the support that best suits them. It's not easy finding providers. It's not easy period. At MyHealthTeams we create social networks for chronic condition communities. We believe that when you or a loved one are diagnosed with a disease it should be easy to connect with people just like you, who can share their daily experiences, and help you discover the best people around to help you.
Since we founded MyHealthTeams in 2010, we've launched three social networks - MyAutisimTeam, for parents of children with autism, MyBCTeam, for women facing breast cancer and MyMSTeam for those living with multiple sclerosis.
Each of the social networks we've built has been fully embraced by the communities we've addressed. Our flagship community, MyAutismTeam, has in less than 24 months, grown from 30 parents to more than 40,000 parents from across the U.S. MyBCTeam already has roughly 4,000 women on the site since our launch in September 2012 and MyMSTeam will launch in the coming weeks. Users of all the social networks, share recommendations of local providers, openly discuss daily triumphs and issues, share tips, and gain access to local services.
Three major drivers behind the growth of our sites:
1. People crave connections with other people just like them - they just need a safe and reliable environment to do so.
2. The simplicity of our technology - our communities reflect aspects of social networks that our users are already familiar with (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which provides for high user engagement.
3. The rapid word-of-mouth amongst these communities.
One in two Americans live with a chronic condition  and they are seeking support from not only their medical providers, but also from people like them. In fact, for women with breast cancer, recent studies shown that having strong support improves outcomes . Sharing with people who are in your shoes, offers a sense of community that can't be found elsewhere - these are people who know the language of your condition; they understand the daily frustrations and the small triumphs that can mean so much.
With the Affordable Care Act on the horizon, implementing and expanding wellness programs has taken on a new importance for companies. Organizations are seeking resources that not only help improve the quality of life for their employees, but also help control health care spending. Social networks, like the ones created by MyHealthTeams, allow employers to offer unique resources to their employees allowing them to create the support networks they need to get through to the next day.
For more information on the social networks created by MyHealthTeams, visit http://www.myhealthteams.com.
 An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease, Charting a New Course to Save Lives and Increase Productivity and Economic Growth, Milken Institute, By Ross DeVol and Armen Dedroussian, Oct 2007 )free download: http://milkeninstitute.org/publications/publications.taf?function=detail&ID=38801018&cat=resrep)
 Journal of Clinical Oncology, Social Networks, Social Support, and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Candyce H. Kroenke, et al., March 1, 2006
2:48 PM April 15, 2013
By Lynn Bunim
WIPP recommends checking out a new report: "The Impact of Credit Availability on Small Business Exports" (PDF) looks at how "big bank" health impacts exports from the nation's smaller businesses. It mainly considers those companies with fewer than 100 employees. The research also determines that small businesses rely on bank lending to export their goods and to do business outside the U.S. more than big businesses do. A Small Business Trends article on the report, which is excerpted below, is important to read.
The report notes that a sharp decline in small business exports during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 causes researchers to wonder. Could there be a connection between lending and small business exports? The result is a report confirming just that. As lending declines, so do small business exports. A new report from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy lays out the data.
"Small business that export their goods and services need to compensate for the riskiness of cross-border transactions and to allow for longer transportation times to get goods to market," Dr. Winslow Sargeant, the SBA's chief counsel for advocacy, said in a statement accompanying the report . "Add to that the greater reliance of small firms on ban credit in general, and it's easy to see how even small changes in bank health could have the effect of undermining small business exports."
The SBA Advocacy report notes that exports don't really decline from big businesses when banks slow lending. "The smallest businesses need more access to capital to grow their businesses and export their products," Sargeant said. He called for banks to open up more capital resources to the nation's small businesses. The resulting boost will help the economic recovery from the recent recession he says.
WIPP recognizes that to strengthen small businesses exports even more, policy shifts are needed to improve access to lines of credit and financing, the report continues. WIPP has engaged in this issue. For more information, please visit our ExportNOW page or call WIPP, (415) 434-4314.
Additionally, WIPP has developed a series of webinars to support its participation in ExportNOW. Our first webinar, "Export 101," with the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, was an important step in education women- owned businesses about the basics of export. Our second webinar featured Dario Gomez, associate administrator at the Small Business Administration's Office of International Trade. You can find the presentations as well as podcasts of the webinars by checking here. Please click here for a calendar of upcoming events and/or register.
Article taken from Small Business Trends - http://smallbiztrends.com