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President's Message - Better Together

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, 5 hours ago

Our shared experience with this global pandemic has shown our community is better together today than we have ever been before. As we reflect on the first six months of this year, I invite you to join our conversation on what the rest of this year -- and the future holds for us.

Candace Waterman Join the entire WIPP team on Wednesday, July 22 at 2 PM ET to hear a recap of what we've accomplished, and to get an exclusive preview on the opportunities we are working on for the rest of 2020.


With more than a dozen different advocacy efforts over the first part of the year, we are still working toward ensuring women and minority business owners are heard in recovery efforts.

  • Up Next: Congress is in recess this week, but expect more information on another stimulus package and pushing for blanketed PPP forgiveness. Read Ann Sullivan's blog post for more.



Our membership has never been stronger! Thank you to our Board, our Leadership Advisory Council, and our returning members. Thank you to a host of new members who are joining our their voices with ours to drive sustainable change.



With more than a dozen free webinars available to the public, we are also offering exclusive member education this summer. We welcome our members and the larger community to access our online catalogs.

  • Up Next: Join us on Wednesday, July 22 to learn more about the exciting upcoming changes to the WIPP Education Foundation.

Tags:  President's Message 

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Top Five Reasons to Support Advocacy Now More Than Ever

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, 7 hours ago

If you have been attending WIPP’s Intersectionality Series webinars on COVID-19, it should be pretty obvious that WIPP is on top of Congressional and federal agency actions related to the pandemic that continues to plague us personally and professionally. Not as evident, perhaps, is the role of advocacy beyond reporting the latest news. We give you five reasons why your support for WIPP is important.


  1. There’s More to Come. The government isn’t finished providing assistance to businesses.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) remain key to retaining employees and providing capital but expect another stimulus bill later this summer.
  2. If You’re Not at The Table, You’re on the Menu. In other words, there are consequences to sitting on the sidelines. If you aren’t represented in decision-making, you are vulnerable to adverse consequences—you are at risk. WIPP is at the table.
  3. Interpreting Federal Actions Requires Context. A perfect example of this are the actions the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury issued on PPP. Much was made of an audit of loans over $2 million — Treasury guidance (see question #31) issued in response to high-profile public companies who got the PPP loans. Unfortunately, small companies got scared of a government audit and returned money they needed and should have kept. This could have been avoided, had they understood the intent of the rule/Congress.
  4. Access to Decision-Makers Requires Consistent Attention. Advocacy requires constant communication with a consistent message. It is not all that different than a business relationship—you need to remind people who you are and what you offer. Cold calling during a crisis is unlikely to be effective. WIPP’s Advocacy Team keeps women business owners front and center so Congress turns to WIPP for its point of view during a crisis. Big difference.
  5. A Combined Voice is Far More Effective Than One Voice. The mission of WIPP is to provide a voice for women business owners. Its message resonates with policymakers because we represent women from all over the country, from different political views and every size of business. Your individual message to Congress is important. But as Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.”


Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting 

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Pivoting Is A Process

Posted By Julie Rothhouse, Founder SynaVoice SOL; WIPP Board of Directors , Monday, June 8, 2020

When the character Ross from the TV show "Friends," screams to “Pivot, Pivot, Pivot," it is funny because the visual makes it clear that no amount of pivoting is going to get the couch up the stairs. When businesses pivot, they are hoping for a different outcome. For SynaVoice, the catalyst for our business pivot was the crisis caused by COVID-19. With a desire to help in some way, business as usual was not an option for us.


SynaVoice SOL

Although it happened at warp speed, there was a process we followed to launch SynaVoice SOL. SynaVoice SOL (Summer OnLine) is a pop-up camp developed to provide high school students with a stimulating summer experience they can enjoy from their own homes, because quarantine. Each one-week session focuses on a specific area of interest or topic that will engage high school students and expand their horizons. The daily sessions end at noon each day, because summer!

Step 1: Narrow the Funnel

In order to add the most value, we first had to identify an industry and audience to target. We identified three broad areas where we thought we could make a difference: housing, healthcare, and education. We held a series of networking conversations with business owners and subject matter experts to brainstorm ideas where we could leverage our expertise in communications and training to provide solutions. After the conversations we used a process of elimination to narrow our focus to education and specifically, creating imaginative online educational content.

In the broad category of education, we focused on 8th-11th graders. Teenagers in these grades are tech savvy, spend a lot of time online, need engaging activities, and were not getting the attention that the graduating seniors understandably received. Importantly, we felt we understood this cohort as several team members have teenage children.

Step 2: Fill the Gap

Once we had the industry and target defined, we again held brainstorming sessions with a broad group of business leaders and experts in online content, remote teaching, and high school curriculum development. Through our discussions we identified an emerging gap. Traditionally, kids in this age group went to camp, got a job, traveled with family, or hung out at home during the summer. In an attempt to control the rapidly spreading virus many programs and plans were cancelled - with the exception of hanging out at home. SynaVoice SOL, a virtual summer camp, was created to fill the gap caused by the COVID-related cancellations. 

Each one-week camp session features a unique topic presented by a nationally-known expert. Our goal is to provide exposure to new ideas, concepts, and skills for high school students to inform their eventual college, career, and life choices. Without time to do formal research, we informally tested the idea with parents, educators, and students and honed the concept based on their feedback. 


Watch a preview of SynaVoice SOL Graphic Narratives Camp


After the initial cancellations of the summer programs, many camps and programs retooled and provided online options. We were keen to differentiate ourselves from the rapidly expanding online offerings which, for the most part, were translating in-person content to online delivery. We knew we needed to provide topics and presenters that would engage the campers and capture their imagination, staying true to our mission to create innovative, educational content. All of our sessions provide a unique take on a fun and interesting topic, like our True Crime session which keys off the passion that some kids have for true crime stories and tv shows. We engaged Dr. James Diamond, a professor and criminal lawyer, to provide a taste of criminal law and highlight some of the cases he worked on. 

Step 3: Launch the Program

In rapid succession we developed a logo, began recruiting counselors, finalized the session offerings, built a commercial website, announced the launch, and purchased social media advertising. SynaVoice SOL was lucky in that many friends and partners embraced the vision and supported us by bartering in-kind services for sponsorships and the opportunity to participate. This was extremely helpful in keeping start-up costs down.

Step 4: Continue the Pivot

We are passionate about our mission to provide innovative content for 8th-11th graders. Our journey is not complete as we still need to sign up campers and provide flawless execution of the camp sessions on the Zoom platform. I am confident that with the help of our partners and presenters we will deliver an extraordinary experience to the campers who enroll in SynaVoice SOL this summer. But, the pivot is not complete, because we will need to shift again for the school year in September.


Learn more about Julie's pivot during our

Monday, June 29

Position, Pivot, Profit webinar.

Register online today


Julie RothhouseJulie Rothhouse is CEO of SynaVoice LLC and Founder of SynaVoice SOL. She has been a WIPP member since 2015 and sits on the WIPP Board of Directors. Read more about Julie’s business at


Each Monday, WIPP aims to feature a guest blog post from a member on tips and tools for business success. To submit a blog post, please email

Tags:  guest post  membership 

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President's Message: Our Lives Depend On Our Actions Now

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2020


In the eyes of some, it may not be prudent for .  

Candace Waterman

Candace Waterman WIPP President & CEO


To those I say: to be silent is to be complicit. We know that social issues left unaddressed turn into civil issues and into business issues. Over the last three months, we have witnessed a global pandemic disproportionately affect minority communities. At the same time, our country is finally grappling with the reality of the Black experience and systemic racism. Now is the time for honest conversations and collaborative plans as we work towards addressing these issues, then healing as a community and as a country.


This Monday, WIPP welcomes our entire community to join in a conversation on how business owners and employers can best support and elevate the voices of Black and brown people in business.


Register for

Monday, June 8

2 PM ET / 1 PM CT / 11 AM PT


At WIPP, our legacy is steeped in leveling the playing field. Every day, my team and I work to provide valuable advocacy actions, community resources, and accessible education to the women’s business community to ensure their sustainable success. With the current state of the country, it is more than apparent that we need to engage in a larger conversation—what WIPP is doing to be part of the solution and not part of the perpetual problem of systemic injustice.


Today and moving forward, WIPP will continue to listen to our members, corporate and agency partners, as well as our strategic partner organizations, to acknowledge and take action when injustice demands it.


Our lives literally depend on it.


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COVID Fatigue – What About All the Other Issues

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2020


Ann Sullivan

Ann Sullivan WIPP Chief Advocate

The newness of COVID-19 has worn off and, though little attention has been paid to other issues Congress must address, those issues haven’t gone away. Although congressional staff and Members are working remotely, business is still being conducted.


I would be remiss if I did not mention the potential for social justice reform, due to protests we have seen over the last week. However, there has been no federal action as of this writing.


Here’s what to expect:


Funding the Government for FY21

The government calendar for funding has not changed. The fiscal year still ends on September 30 and Congress must pass appropriations legislation to continue to fund the government. Although the schedule has been pushed back due to the pandemic, House leadership says it plans to pass all of its appropriations bills by August. As usual, the Senate schedule is less ambitious, but the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to start deliberations in late June.


Authorizing Defense Department Programs

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) guides every defense program and sets priorities for the following fiscal year. It doesn’t fund the programs—it leaves that to the appropriators but authorizes and recommends the funding levels. Often included in this bill are changes to small business contracting programs that are deemed important to the defense supplier base. The Senate Armed Services Committee expects to have completed its bill by the end of June/early July. The House Armed Services Committee schedule follows roughly the same timeline.


Tackling Infrastructure Funding

In addition to roads, trains and ships, water infrastructure is also on the list to fund and authorize. Although it was initially thought to be a massive recovery initiative, it now appears the Congress may tackle this piece by piece. Either way, a number of the programs expire unless Congress takes action by September 30.


Extending Tax Cuts

Tax deductions and credits have expiration dates. Unless Congress extends them, they expire. Action is necessary to keep them intact and the list of expiring tax cuts since 2018 is pretty long. .


Although COVID-19 related actions will continue to be front and center for the Congress, it cannot neglect its other duties. Let’s not forget that there is an election coming in November, which includes the entire House of Representatives, one third of the Senate, and the Presidency.


The Congress, adapting to the ban of large group gatherings, will spend a significant amount of time campaigning for the November elections. In the end, the government still needs to be funded, and the need for a strong defense and services taxpayers expect from their government do not go away in a pandemic.


Despite the public dishearteningly partisan rhetoric, the Congress will quietly work together to get things done.


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Advocacy Update: WOSB Final Rule Highlights

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has published its final rule for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) certification. 
The impetus for this rule is the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which directed the SBA to create its own WOSB/EDWOSB certification. At the same time, the Congress authorized the sole source authority for the WOSB/EDWOSB program. WIPP has worked with SBA throughout this process, submitting comments with input from our members. We are thrilled to see that issues we raised were included in the final rule, such as

  •  excluding retirement accounts from net worth;
  •  harmonizing the economic disadvantage qualification across socio-economic contracting programs; and
  • continuing to allow third-party certifiers. 

The benefits of this implementation include simplifying the process for contracting officers to use the program and can rely on SBA certification with confidence. This update will require no additional document review, will replace the WOSB Repository, and will reduce amount of time to complete a certification. 


Definition of WOSB: At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are United States citizens. 


Effective dates: Rule goes into effect on July 15, 2020. SBA will begin processing certifications on October 15, 2020. 


  1. Retirement accounts will now be excluded from calculations of an economically disadvantaged individual's net worth, irrespective of the individual's age.
  2. Makes 8(a) qualifications for economic disadvantage the same as EDWOSB program. Qualifications include: (a) net worth cannot exceed $750,000; (b) adjusted gross income averaged over the three preceding years cannot exceed $350,000; (c) An individual will generally not be considered economically disadvantaged if the fair market value of all her assets (including her primary residence and the value of the applicant/participant firm) exceeds $6 million and (d) retirement funds are now excluded from net worth calculation.
  3. Only SBA certified WOSBs can use the WOSB set-aside/sole program, but agencies can count  contracts to women outside the program that are only self-certified toward their WOSB goal.
  4. Third-party certifications are accepted as are those certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs CVE, and 8(a) certifications. 8(a) certified are automatically considered to qualify as EDWOSBs. DBE certifications are not accepted.
  5. A business performing on a long-term WOSB or EDWOSB contract (i.e., one in excess of five years) must represent that it is a certified WOSB or EDWOSB in order for the award to continue to count towards an agency's WOSB goal. For new WOSB and EDWOSB set-aside contracts, a business must be able to demonstrate that it has applied for certification before the date it submitted a bid, and that it has not previously sought and been denied certification. For new WOSB or EDWOSB sole-source contracts, a business must already be certified at the time it seeks to obtain the sole-source contract.
  6. Applications will be processed within 90 days. If denied, an applicant can reapply for certification after 90 days.
  7. Requires annual certification affidavit and recertification every three years.
  8. SBA will give priority to a firm who has been awarded a contract under the program but the application is still pending before the SBA. Determination will be within 15 days.

Tags:  Advocacy  regulatory  SBA  WOSB 

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Your Certification Is a License to Hunt

Posted By Nancy Aber Goshow, Founding WIPP Member, Monday, May 18, 2020

As someone who has been in business for more than 40 years, I tell all business owners who become certified, especially as a WOSB, EDWOSB, and/or DBE to develop a sound marketing strategy to leverage their certification.

Nancy Aber Goshow


One of the best strategies is summarized with a five-letter acronym: DFRPC

  • D - Differentiate: Identify strengths that differentiate your firm from all other women-owned businesses;
  • F - Focus your efforts on promoting those strengths;
  • R - Relationships: Build relationships with your target agencies that seek your strengths;
  • P - Past Performance: Build a robust portfolio of exceptional past performance and references; and 
  • C - Know your Customer: Research each target agency.
  • Research each target agency by answering these questions: Who, What, How, When, Where, and Why?
    • Who buys the services you perform?
    • How do they procure those services?
    • When do they procure those services?
    • Where are those services delivered?
    • How are you prepared to deliver those services?
    • Why would they buy those services from you?

Finally, adhere to the “Rule of Three” to build relationships with your target agencies:

  • Develop a three-year hunting marketing strategy;
  • Select three federal agencies to target;
  • Go to each target agency’s industry day and events where those three agencies present their opportunities;
  • Get their cards, don’t push your cards;
  • Find out the best way to follow-up with each contact;
  • Follow up every three weeks for three years as long as it takes to be known by those agencies; and
  • Show up, show up, show up over three years and on into the future.
Keep in mind during this process that federal government procurement is a long-term effort, it took me five years to get my first opportunity to compete and seven years before I won a federal contract.

About the Author:
Nancy Aber Goshow leads Goshow Architects and is a Founding WIPP Member. Read more about Nancy’s business and her commitment to WIPP in the May 2020 Member Spotlight
Each Monday, WIPP aims to feature a guest blog post from a member on tips and tools for business success. To submit a blog post, email the WIPP ACE HelpDesk at



Tags:  guest post  membership 

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President's Message - Robust Grant Programs Needed In Next Wave of Relief

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

This week I am celebrating my second anniversary leading WIPP, and this year also marks 15 years working to elevate women-owned businesses at the regional and national levels. During this celebratory time, we are also in the midst of a crisis that has already left an indelible impression not only because of how much it changed our lives, but also for how quickly this community has come together like never before. I have never been more proud to stand together with our partner organizations, corporate partners, and especially our stalwart members who continue to define the calm in the storm. 
Candace Waterman
I do not need to tell you that this pandemic has taken an enormous toll on women-owned businesses. Our recent impact survey showed more than 71% of the respondents reported a decrease in business. Approximately 73% of our survey participants had applied for federal funding, the majority listing either the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. On a more positive note, 89% of respondents have been able to continue operations during this pandemic as of April 15.

Another survey-based study, "Women-Owned Businesses & PPP Survey Results," found that “women-owned businesses asked for and received less money than national averages” in the first round of PPP funding. In addition, “women relied heavily on large national banks and, when they did, their likelihood of obtaining a PPP loan plummeted.” We are watching the progress of second-round funding through the PPP and EIDL and will keep you updated.  

In the coming weeks, more relief is expected. Given the urgency of capital, we are asking Congress to consider revamping the programs to separate them into loans and grants rather than a combination of the two. While small businesses will need loans with generous terms in the recovery stage of this pandemic, they need grants now. 

Joining your voice with WIPP is necessary to make an impact on Capitol Hill. Contact your Representative and Senators today and share our letter urging small business grants rather than forgivable loans. If you have questions, please contact the WIPP ACE HelpDesk at



Tags:  Advocacy  leadership  President's Message 

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WIPP Works In Washington: What's Next?

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2020
COVID-19 relief took the form of four bills passed by Congress in the last two months. All of this is centered around relief for workers and employers hit by COVID-19, including small business loan and forgiveness programs, aid to hospitals and money for test deployment, employer required sick leave, and direct payments to Americans. 
A staggering $2 trillion was spent in these four bills and the Federal Reserve Bank spent an estimated additional $4 trillion on relief. We learned the demand from small businesses for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster loans (EIDL) far exceeded available funding. Everyone is curious about the direction of future aid for obvious reasons. What’s going to be in the next bill or is there going to be a next bill? 

My best guess is that the next Congressional bill will be a hybrid of relief and recovery. Much is left to do on the relief side and refinement of the programs put in place by previous legislation. When programs are drafted in a hurry, unexpected issues arise that need to be addressed. Evidence is the number of guidance documents issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Treasury, and the IRS surrounding small business loan programs. For federal contractors, implementation of Section 3610 relief has generated extensive documentation. The next bill will most certainly contain changes to existing programs.

Is Congress going to deliver additional relief by providing additional funding for the PPP or EIDL programs? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested that Congress may slow down future relief, saying "until we can begin to open up the economy, we can’t spend enough money to solve the problem." Relief to state and localities has yet to materialize but is widely considered to be a major part of any future bill.

As governors start loosening restrictions on stay-at-home orders and industry starts to slowly reopen, the focus is slowly shifting toward economic recovery. Congressional leaders are looking at successful programs deployed during the Great Recession (2007-2009) that could be helpful during this pandemic. Another much talked about idea is a stimulus, such as a massive infrastructure program. This would not only cover shovel ready construction projects, but also broadband, telecommunications and technology infrastructure. 

Also bubbling up are tax deductions and credits for businesses who will need relief for many months to come. Businesses are asking for special liability restrictions due to COVID-19 in order to feel comfortable bringing employees back to work and opening their doors to consumers. The Senate has signaled this as a priority, but their House counterparts are not so sure. 

Lastly, the federal marketplace offers a tremendous opportunity for small business recovery, but the rules need to change to allow more dollars to flow to these businesses.

The “What’s Next” list is overwhelming because the need is so great. Our advocacy team is dedicated to ensuring women business owners have a voice in all of these deliberations. That’s the mission of WIPP – we intend on keeping it that way.

Tags:  Advocacy  COVID-19  legislation 

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Federal Contracting: Opportunities In the Face of Challenge

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

While many segments of the economy are experiencing unprecedented loss, one sector of the economy, the federal government, is rapidly increasing its spending to combat the COVID-19 virus. Reported spending obligations for COVID-19 as of May 18 are about $11.6 billion and are expected to increase in the coming weeks. (Note: every time the numbers are updated, the previous link will reflect those updates.) Here are a few of the numbers you should be aware of as a federal contractor.

Elizabeth Sullivan Agencies flowing the most dollars to small businesses are the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS) and Agriculture (USDA). Veterans Affairs has awarded over $624 million, while SBA has the second highest dollars to small businesses with $573 million. Of the total dollars spent by the Department of Homeland Security so far on coronavirus, about 20% was awarded to small businesses. That is a little over $317 million of the total $1.6 billion spent as of May 18, 2020. 

Dollars are also being awarded to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). Across all agencies, since March, over $735 million has been awarded to WOSBs to assist with COVID-19 relief. Just for some context – this number has exceeded the total dollars awarded for WOSBs in FY2018, which was $473.1 million. So, in a matter of months, the dollars awarded have exceeded an entire fiscal year’s previous spend. This increase has been across small business programs – service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) also have been awarded $578 million and HUBZone companies $161 million. 

A few examples of how and what federal agencies are pursuing in terms of COVID-19 assistance include HHS refocusing its research contracts to seek assistance with COVID-19 and the Army seeking new technology to help prevent, treat and manage the coronavirus. The SBA is on a hiring spree given their new responsibility to process $620 billion in loans to small businesses.

So, how can you take advantage of this new spending? In addition to working with  your existing federal customers, there are two other ways to showcase your capabilities to assist with COVID-19.

  1. Sign up on the Disaster Response Registry in SAM, where you can submit your COVID-19 related capability statements and product offerings. This registry is used agency-wide.
  2. Submit inquiries to the DHS Procurement Action Innovative Response (PAIR) Team. DHS created this in response to the surge of incoming industry offers of help and innovative ideas to support the fight against COVID-19. 

By the time you read this, more dollars will have been spent. Make sure you are taking advantage of these opportunities now. 



Tags:  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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more Calendar

WIPP Policy Update - July 2020

WIPP Intersectionality: The Power of Regional Resources and Connections

WIPP Community Connections - July 2020

WIPP Intersectionality: The Power of National Partnership and Collaboration

Featured Members
Michelle KantorMember, McDonald Hopkins, Chicago, IL — April 2020 Member Spotlight

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