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WIPP Member Spotlight - Amina Elgouacem

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, January 3, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

 

 

Amina Elgouacem

President

NEOSTEK, Inc.

http://www.neostek.com

 
Amina Elgouacem

What led you to join WIPP?


When I started NEOSTEK in 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) certification program was not in place yet. I didn’t have a contracting vehicle and my designation was Small Business, which means I have to compete against the large Small Businesses in IT. 


I came across a ChallengeHer event, with a networking session held at the Department of State, geared toward educating businesses on the WOSB program and how it helps remove barriers for competition and allow women-owned companies to have an opportunity to compete and win contracts in the federal government. 


A year after the WOSB program was put in place, I won my first prime contract at the Department of State; it was competed as an EDWOSB set-aside contract. I decided to join WIPP as a member in 2013 to stay up-to-date with policy affecting my business. I realized that the WOSB program at that time still had limitations compared to other set-aside programs, there was a $4 million cap on competed contracts, and there was no sole source designation. 


I then decided to apply to join the WIPP Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) to provide input to policy affecting WOSBs and to become a mentor to new businesses. Affecting policy and change is bigger than any one of us; it really requires input from all to tell the story and get the support we need to make an impact.

 

As a WIPP member, what is your favorite part of being involved in the network? 


My favorite part of being involved with WIPP is to collaborate with like-minded, smart women business entrepreneurs who share the same passion to affect change, who share similar stories, and face similar challenges, and who understand that policy and advocacy is the way to get the word out and affect change. 


Also, my involvement with the LAC has given me an opportunity to be a panelist in business events and reverse industry day events to represent the WOSB community, to provide our perspective and experiences, and also to publicly provide advice to business audiences based on my experiences and what I have accomplished so far. Thanks to WIPP, I was interviewed and quoted in a Forbes article on “Study: Women Small Business Owners Being Shut Out of Major Government Contracts.” 


I also had an opportunity to get in front of the House Small Business Caucus last year to share my experience on government contracting, challenges we face, and how policy can help with our members of the Congress. It’s really about being able to give back and affecting change.

 

As a federal contractor, what do you gain from WIPP Membership?


By being a WIPP member as a federal contractor, I get the most up to date information on policy that affects my business. You also have a network of other federal government contractors and entrepreneurs who are willing to help and support you through your journey as an entrepreneur as you grow your business through different levels. You may have questions about policy such as the WOSB Sole Source and how it works and get more detailed information to educate your customers on the program. 


You may find your next mentor at WIPP. Whether you just started your business, or you are outgrowing your small business status and you’re looking for advice on what’s next. You will find another woman who has that experience at WIPP. You will find women who have sold their businesses and who acquired other businesses. By attending events, including ChallengeHer and conferences, I’ve had an opportunity to meet with these outstanding bright women entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and experiences, and it’s just amazing to be part of the experience and hear their story.


What is your proudest moment for NEOSTEK?


It’s hard to select a proud moment when you’re a small business, as every milestone you achieve brings tears to your eyes, because you know you made it and you worked so hard every step of the way to get there against all the odds, so I will choose one. 


I was proud to be on the cover of the CIOReview Magazine and getting a four-page spread on the topic of “Precision Records Information Management to Facilitate Modernization,” after being interviewed and being selected as the cover story, along with being named one of the Top 10 Enterprise Information Management Consulting/Services companies of 2019 alongside IBM. 


The article and the achievement are the culmination of a lot of hard work in order to be known in our industry as the best service provider in Enterprise Information Management serving the federal government sector. This means we are not going back, we are only going forward, we will roll up our sleeves and continue climbing high. It will take patience, and perseverance.



What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with NEOSTEK?


The most challenging part when you grow as a business is planning for hard times and sustainment and being able to ride the wave. You have to plan years in advance and prepare for low times to keep your workforce employed. You can never put all your eggs in one basket and win a deal that is too big to lose. 


When a large business decided to take our subcontracted work with a one-week notice and no reason, we were prepared because we had just won a few new contracts that we worked hard to get for years, but we had to make a tough decision on who to keep. It was one of the most challenging moments because we had the best employees, who were the best performers on that contract, and we were able to keep most of them because we prepared. 

 
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Learn more about Amina and her team at NEOSTEK at http://www.neostek.com
NEOSTEK
Each month, WIPP highlights a member who has leveraged WIPP membership to grow their business, engage with elected officials, and/or elevate the mission of WIPP and the visibility of women-owned businesses.


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