Recently in the Contracting Goals Category

The dawn of the New Year provides an excellent opportunity to review the successes of 2014, and to assess areas of improvement for 2015. The National Women's Business Council's annual report, "Building Bridges: Leveraging Research and Relationships to Impact the Business Climate for Women" does exactly that, providing us with an overview of women entrepreneurship, including a summary of key research findings, policy recommendations and the Council's agenda in the year ahead. The report rests on NWBC's four pillar platform- access to capital, access to markets, job creation and growth, and data collection- and confirms what many of us already know, that the full economic participation of women is essential to economic growth in the U.S. 


Access to capital remains a key issue for women business owners. In order to better understand the ways in which women business owners accessed capital, NWBC worked with the SBA to analyze loan data, partnered with Walker's Legacy to host a round-table specific to women of color and access to capital, and commissioned new research on under-capitalizationThe research shows a direct link between access to capital and revenue generation, with men starting their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women, a disparity which increases among firms with high growth potential. The report highlights crowdfunding as an important new resource for women business owners seeking capital.

The NWBC also focused much research on access to markets for women business owners, using WIPP's own ChallengeHER campaign as a building block for identifying best practices in government procurement. Thanks to the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, more and more federal contracts are being awarded to women owned small businesses. However, disparities still remain in regard to award amount between WOSBs and non-WOSBs, most likely as a result of different contract types. 

In 2013, the Council called for an increase in the number of women owned or led firms in incubators and accelerators in an attempt to increase job creation and growth. In 2014, the Council honored this commitment, through championing the SBA's Office of Investment and Innovation's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, convening a public meeting on STEM, entrepreneurship, and women, and commissioning new research on micro-businesses and accelerators and incubators. Research shows that women with dependent children are less likely to add additional employees, indicating that child care burdens are still a significant obstacle to the growth of women owned small businesses. 

The report concludes with a number of different, concrete strategies for each pillar, building off of past success while also acknowledging areas for improvement. Among many other things, the NWBC recommends: tax credits for investors who finance women-owned and led firms; creating opportunities to align women business owners with government and corporate procurement officials; improvement of the availability and timeliness of government and private sector data on women owned small businesses; the implementation of the sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (yay!). 

The National Women's Business Council is a crucial resource for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The research and recommendations they provide acts as a road map for the success of women entrepreneurs, success which is reached through hard work, partnerships and persistence. 2014 was a great year for women entrepreneurs, and 2015 looks just as promising. 

It is a huge accomplishment to have a woman CEO named by Lockheed Martin. When the commitment to women comes from the top, change occurs and that is particularly true for our women entrepreneurs. Becoming CEO was a natural progression for Marillyn Hewson. Since joining the firm in 1983 she led one of Lockheed's most profitable units and accounted for more revenue than many Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Hewson has a reputation of listening to Lockheed Martins' marketplace, the customer and the suppliers.

 

WIPP is poised, through its members and friends, to deliver messages to her that there are legions of qualified businesses owned and run by woemn that are capable of supporting Lockheed Martin's stability and growth projections in the federal marketplace.

 

The tipping point for women in federal contracting is now. Through WIPP's partnership with the SBA to help women secure federal contracts under the WOSB program, WIPP is hopeful that the government-wide goal of awarding 5% of federal contracts to WOSBs is met. There are a plethora of free resources when it comes to doing business with the government, including programs like WIPP's Give Me 5, an initiative and website for women-owned businesses seeking federal contracts created jointly by WIPP and American Express OPEN.

 

In addition to Ms. Hewson in the CEO office at Lockheed Martin, both Boeing and Northrop Grumman are advancing women into executive positions.

 

Recently American Express OPEN launched a new OPEN Insight Guide to help women business owners secure government contracts.

The OPEN Insight Guide, Government Contracting: Women in Procurement
offers tips, advice, and suggestions for women business owners. Within the guide, you'll find:

 - Excerpts from a roundtable discussion with government-contracting experts and small business owners who have experience in government contracting

 - A list of eligible industries

 - Interview with Ann Sullivan, head of government relations for Women Impacting Public Policy

 - List of resources for women in government contracting

 - Checklist for the program's eligibility requirements

A recent study from American Express found that more than two thirds of the women-owned companies that secure federal contracts generate more than $1 million in sales. Whether you're new to government contracting or an experienced contractor, the information in this new OPEN Insight Guide will help you grow your business through government contacting opportunities.
 

Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held an oral argument on Rulemaking 09-07-027. The CUPC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC issued a rule encouraging fair and full participation of women, minority, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises in the CPUC's private procurement programs. I went as a representative for WIPP and for National Association of Women Business Owners - California (NAWBO-CA).

Representatives from the community groups and public utilities were on hand to discuss the status of women, minority, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Representatives from PG&E, AT&T, and Verizon testified to their achievements in meeting self-imposed contracting goals. Community groups such as Mabuhay Alliance and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce were on hand to offer recommendations on how policies implemented by the public utilities can better serve the business community. Both sides agree that while it is commendable contracting goals have been met, there is still much to be done to incorporate more women, minority, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.

WIPP is thrilled to know that AT&T and Verizon, partners of WIPP, have met their contracting goals and are interested expanding their use of women and minority contractors. WIPP looks forward to working with the CPUC and the various public utilities to increase their outreach efforts to the small business community.

 

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