The question of federal procurement is a topic of great interest to many small business owners, particularly women small business owners looking to gain or expand their access within this marketplace. The government is the largest buyer of goods and services and there is tremendous opportunity, but the processes through which one can obtain these federal contracting opportunities can often be perplexing and burdensome.
Women-owned small businesses face additional barriers, including: past performance, networking opportunities, lack of knowledge of the process, the inefficient WOSB contracting program, and industry participation. The federal government has a goal to spend 5.0% of their annual procurement budget towards women-owned small businesses – which has never been met. There are some government agencies exceeding this goal, but too many that fall below the minimum bringing the total performance down.
The NWBC’s next Public Meeting – “Beyond Sole Source: Strategies to Meet the 5% WOSB Goal” – is scheduled Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 from 2pm to 4pm ET. This meeting will take place virtually via web conference. The focus of this meeting is women’s access to the federal marketplace, specifically strategies that women can use to successfully navigate the process and tactics that government agencies can use to increase the spend to women-owned small businesses. Please RSVP online at: http://bit.ly/1Madjph.
The Council leadership will first provide updates and highlights from recent research and engagement efforts, as well as share a preview of the upcoming Annual Report (expected later this month). Speakers include: Council Chair Carla Harris, Kimberly Blackwell, and Laura Yamanaka. The Council has confirmed two special guests for additional commentary:
- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen is confirmed to join for brief remarks. Senator Shaheen is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. A fierce champion for women and a former small business owner herself, Senator Shaheen will speak about women’s entrepreneurship, and both her and the Committee’s efforts to better support women and their business endeavors.
- John Shoraka, Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, is joining as a special guest to explain sole source authority and what it means for women small business owners and contracting officers.
The second half of the meeting will be a panel, during which practitioners and women entrepreneurs will discuss strategies to reach the government’s unmet WOSB goal – including agency outreach, WOSB certification and readiness assessments, streamlining the onerous process, industry matchmaking, or pipeline investments – and share actionable advice and best practices that women can leverage to successfully navigate the process and win contracts. Esteemed speakers are confirmed for the panel discussion. Panelists include:
- Erin Andrew, Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Director of the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
- Teresa Lewis, Director of the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization for Health and Human Services
- Rose Wang, Founder of The Binary Group and former Council Member
- Elise Hernandez, CEO and founder of Ideal System Solutions
- Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council (moderator)
“The recent implementation of sole source authority in the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program is a huge step forward and has the potential to increase access to the federal marketplace for women business owners. But we can’t stop there – too many barriers remain for women in pursuit of new and additional contracting opportunities with the federal government,” said Carla Harris, Presidentially-appointed Chair of the National Women’s Business Council.
The meeting will take place via web conference. Please RSVP online at: http://bit.ly/1Madjph. Details will be provided upon RSVP. This meeting is open to the press.