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WBENC Celebrates NWSBM with a Campaign to #BuyWomenOwned

Posted By WBENC, Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

WIPP is a National Strategic Partner with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States.

WBENC marked National Women’s Small Business Month with a campaign to raise awareness for why, where, and how to #BuyWomenOwned and support women-owned small businesses. As the nation’s leading provider of women-owned business certification, WBENC works to empower and advocate for women entrepreneurs every day. For the month of October, they are passing the baton to the public and urge all consumers to make a conscious effort to #BuyWomenOwned. Read on as WBENC explains why it’s important to #BuyWomenOwned and support women entrepreneurs!

WHY BUY WOMEN OWNED

 

Over the last few decades, the number of women-owned businesses has skyrocketed. In 1972, women owned just 402,000 or 4.6 percent of businesses; today there are 12.9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., representing 42 percent of all businesses. Women-owned businesses collectively employ 9.4 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue.

While that’s a sizable impact, women-owned businesses account for just 8% of the total private sector workforce and 4.3% of total private sector revenues. And unfortunately, the revenue disparity between women-owned businesses and all businesses has increased over the last 20+ years. For every dollar generated by a privately held company overall, women-owned businesses generated just 37 cents in 1997 and 30 cents in 2019. 

In addition, the majority of women-owned businesses generate less than $250k in revenue – and yet, data shows that substantial business growth in terms of revenue and number of employees begins to take off after reaching $250k in revenue. 

With more support and increased access to opportunities and capital, women-owned businesses are poised to exceed this critical revenue threshold and make a significant impact on the overall economy.

Supporting women-owned businesses means investing in women’s economic empowerment, gender equality in business, and sustainable economic growth. It means believing in a future where women entrepreneurs have the same opportunities and growth potential as their male counterparts, where the marketplace is as diverse as the population it serves, and where women are viewed as equals across economic and business ecosystems. 

HOW TO BUY WOMEN OWNED

 

Look for the Logo

Next time you are running errands or going shopping, keep on the look-out for the Women Owned Logo. Any storefronts, websites and product labels bearing the Women Owned Logo have been certified as at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women by WBENC in the United States and WEConnect International globally.

Search the Directory

Need a handy guide to women-owned businesses to support? Check out our Women Owned Business Directory, featuring hundreds of products from WBENC or WEConnect-Certified businesses. 

Join the Movement

We are on a mission to build a movement of support for women-owned businesses. Join us! In addition to making a conscious effort to #BuyWomenOwned this month (and beyond!), stay informed and help us spread the word about National Women’s Small Business Month. Here’s how:

 

LEARN MORE

 

About WBENC

WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) to provide its world-class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, WBENC provides business development opportunities for member corporations, government agencies and more than 15,000 certified women-owned businesses at events and other forums. Learn more. 

 

About Women Owned

Women Owned is an initiative from WBENC and WEConnect International to create a movement of support for Women Owned businesses. We support female entrepreneurs and those who do business with them by raising awareness for why, where and how to buy Women Owned. Learn more. 

 


 

All data regarding the number of women-owned businesses can be found in the 2019 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. 

 

Tags:  NWSBM  partner  women-owned 

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Advocacy Update: FAR Council Rules That Matter To Your Business

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, October 16, 2019


This New FAR Council Rule on Covered Telecommunication Equipment Will Impact Your Business, Even Outside of the Tech Industry

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has proposed an interim final rule that will amend the FAR to prohibit the Federal Government from procuring or obtaining, or extending or renewing a contract to procure or obtain, “any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system” in order to combat the national security and intellectual property threats that face the United States. The definition of “covered telecommunications equipment or services” are components from: Huawei, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company.  


For all businesses, the rule:

  • Prohibits contractors from providing covered telecommunications equipment or services unless the agency confirms that an exception applies or a waiver is granted 
  • Requires every offeror for a contract or order to represent whether or not it will provide covered telecommunications equipment or services as part of its offer and, if so, to furnish additional detail about the covered equipment or services 
  • Mandates that contractors report any covered equipment or services if discovered during the course of contract performance 

WIPP recognized the importance of this rule and the impact it will have on small business federal contractors. Read WIPP’s comments on this rule.
 

Proposed Rule on Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection Process (LPTA) from FAR Council Discourages Use of Practice Across Government

Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) has been a long hated acquisition pricing policy in the small business community. Seen as a “race to the bottom,” the FAR Council has issued a proposed rule to avoid using Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection criteria in circumstances that would deny the Government the benefits of cost and technical tradeoffs in the source selection process. This rule also states specifically that LPTA source selection criteria should be avoided for procurements for IT services, cyber security, systems engineering services, and others.

 

Think this is a good idea?

 

Comment on this rule by December 2, 2019

 

Tags:  Advocacy  Federal Procurement  policy 

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Action Alert: Ask Your Legislators to Co-Sponsor Equity Bill

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2019

If a woman-owned firm wants to obtain a Small Business Administration (SBA) certification to participate in the Woman-Owned Small Business/Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB/EDWOSB) procurement program, she would not be able to obtain equity or venture capital funding.

This choice essentially forces women business owners to choose between participating in the federal marketplace through the WOSB/EDWOSB program or growing their business.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 (S. 1981), which would allow women-owned contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms and still meet the “51% unconditionally owned and controlled” standard set by SBA to participate in the WOSB/EDWOSB program.


Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced an identical bill in the House (H.R. 3633). The same barriers apply to minority-owned businesses and these bills also allow minority-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by minority-owned equity firms.

WIPPActionAlert Access to capital continues to be an ongoing challenge for women business owners. This groundbreaking legislation would open a path for investment in women-owned businesses who are government contractors, while also strengthening the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms. 

WIPP asks you to meet, call, or write your elected officials and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.

Your Action Steps:

 


 

Call Your Legislators

If You Are Calling Your Senators:  

Reach the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to the Senator’s office you are trying to reach.

 

Use this sample script:

 

“Hello. My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am calling to urge Senator ____________ to support S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to accept investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but will empower women investors by continuing to spur growth for women-owned equity firms.

 

Again, I urge Senator _____________ to expand venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.”

 

If You Are Calling Your Representative: 

Reach the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to the Representative’s office you are trying to reach.

 

Use this sample script:

 

“Hello. My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am calling to urge Representative ____________ to support H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to accept investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but will empower women investors by continuing to spur growth for women-owned equity firms.

 

Again, I urge Representative _____________ to expand venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.”

 

 


 

Write Your Legislators 

If You Are Writing Your Senators:

Reach your Senators via email through a form on their website under “Contact.”

 

Use this suggested language:

 

Dear Senator ______,

 

My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am writing to urge you to support S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but it will strengthen the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms.

 

Please support expanding venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

_______

 

If You Are Writing Your Representative: 

Reach your Representative via email through a form on their website under “Contact.”

 

Use this suggested language:

 

Dear Representative ______,

 

My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but it will strengthen the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms.

 

Please support expanding venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

_______

 

Tags:  Access to Capital  Action Alert  Advocacy 

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President's Message: Our Position Is Always As Your Resource

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Last week I traveled from Michigan to Louisiana to New Mexico, presenting multiple workshops covering everything from advocacy training, building capacity, and parity for women-owned businesses in the federal government.

Candace Waterman (middle) stands with WBENC RPO leaders Dr. Pamela Williamson (WBEC-West) and Michelle Richards (GLWBC) I met many leaders and spoke with WIPP members across the nation who are wondering what will happen when Congress returns from recess next week. Specifically, what the impeachment proceedings could mean for our advocacy work. Understanding how things happen on Capitol Hill has never been more important, and WIPP has almost 20 years of relationships and experience in the halls of Congress. Our position will always be as your nonpartisan resource -- first and foremost.

I encourage WIPP Members to read Ann Sullivan's column this month and to join the Advocacy Team on their monthly Policy Update webinar next Wednesday, October 9 to learn about where we are on our WIPP Policy Priorities, including key legislation and appropriations as well as understanding the impeachment proceedings.

This month, we are working on bringing our resources to bear for members and the wider audience of women-owned businesses across the nation:

Access

October is National Women’s Small Business Month (#NWSBM) and we are thrilled to once again partner with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) to showcase the landscape of certified WOSB/WBE women leaders. 

Each October, I love to remind our WIPP Members to check their status and their online profile. More than any other month, October is the time to ensure your WIPP Membership is updated and ensures we have the opportunity to highlight your company with our agency partners and the larger community. Not sure if you’re a member? Check your profile here.

Advocacy 

October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (#BeCyberSafe), and we have been closely monitoring this topic in the federal contracting space. WIPP submitted comments last week on a draft of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which would be mandatory in 2020 for every supplier and contractor working with the Department of Defense. Learn more.

We continue to work on moving The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 through the Senate Small Business Committee as well as garnering more sponsors in for the companion House bill. 

And once again, I want you to know that WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization, and we approach all issues in a bipartisan manner. Our members identify along all varieties of political persuasion, but we all speak one language: Business.  

Education 

We have three WIPP member webinars this month:

I’m thrilled that we are at capacity for the ChallengeHER event on October 24 in Washington, D.C., but we still have room at the San Diego event on October 29. We also announced our ChallengeHER opportunities with American Express ® Contract Connections on November 14 and December 11. Learn more at ChallengeHER.us. 

Earlier this week, I read the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express, and found that “between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to a total of nearly 13 million (12,943,400). Employment grew by 8% to 9.4 million. Revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion.”

Having built a career on the innate knowledge that women business owners are an unstoppable force, this statistic is encouraging. WIPP has been part of the fight to get seats at the table; we have forged alliances and partnerships; and we are now economically more visible than ever before. Thank you to our members, sponsors, and partners for continuing to support this mission! 

 

Tags:  Access  Advocacy  Education 

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Crisis Averted – At Least for Now

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October 1 marks a new fiscal year, FY2020, and the government will continue to be funded until November 21. Congress sent the continuing resolution (CR) to the President last Friday, who signed the bill into law before the September 30 deadline.

 

AnnSullivan

It is significant that during September, the Congress and the President agreed to two additional steps to bring stability to the budget process. Legislation to suspend the federal debt ceiling and set government spending levels for two years addressed issues that have proven to be problematic in the past. Budget bills, such as these, have provided opportunities for legislators and Presidents to hold government spending hostage to their demands. That’s not to say the demands don’t hold merit but shutting down the government is not without consequences.

 

Thirty-five days in length, the last government shutdown in January-February 2019 wreaked havoc on small federal contractors. According to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, The True Cost of Government Shutdowns, the last three shutdowns in cost taxpayers $4 billion—at least $3.7 billion of it in back pay to furloughed federal workers and $338 million in other costs such as lost revenue.

 

A statistic that government contractors certainly felt was the Congressional Budget Office estimate that the most recent shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services. Legislation was introduced this year to require compensation to low-wage workers employed by government contractors, including the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act in the House and the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act in the Senate. Although these efforts have yet to gain traction, it is a move applauded by many government contractors.

 

The angst that builds in Washington around the end of the fiscal year is justified. Even though our members have strategies in place to weather a shutdown storm, a government shutdown affects everyone in the supply chain. In addition to requiring contract modifications to keep providing services during a CR, it also delays grant awards and new projects.

 

There’s a whole new wrinkle in completion of federal funding for FY2020 that expires on November 21 – impeachment proceedings. Decisions on where the money is spent in the federal government is a key responsibility of the Congress, but it requires the President’s signature. Putting aside partisan wrangling is a requirement for getting this funding passed. Appropriations bills are determined by the Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate. Since Democrats are in control of the House but Republicans are in control of the Senate, getting these bills to the finish line requires bipartisan cooperation. And, the President has to be willing to sign the legislation.

Senate appropriators say they can “walk and chew gum” at the same time, and have expressed their intentions to keep working to complete their work despite the impeachment proceedings.

 

Learn more about the implications of the impeachment process.

WIPP Members can join us on Wednesday, October 9 for the October Policy Update webinar.  

 

There is precedent for taking care of normal legislative matters while at the same time pursuing a major matter such as impeachment. In 1998 in the midst of then-President Bill Clinton’s pending impeachment investigation by the House, Clinton signed all of that year’s appropriations bills.

 

Where does this leave government contractors? Feeling pleased about averting a government shutdown until November 21, but cautiously optimistic about federal funding for FY2020 after November 21. Here’s where your advocacy comes in. Contact your Congressional delegation urging them to complete the appropriations process. Congress will need lots of encouragement by its constituents to stay the course and complete their work. The small business contracting community can ill afford another shutdown.

Tags:  Advocacy  Appropriations 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Pamela O'Rourke

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Pamela O’Rourke
Founder & CEO
Icon Information Consultants
WIPP Member since 2007
Pamela O'Rourke

 

What led you to join WIPP?

A fellow entrepreneur and WIPP member suggested I join based on my background and my goal of making a difference in my community. How could I not join? 

I am a female leader and as such, I believe that part of being successful is making time to give back and to give your time to causes, especially those most close to your heart. I am a very active Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) member, and WIPP very much aligns with my views of female leadership and empowerment in the business world.

 

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

I love the camaraderie between my fellow female leaders and me. We are out there working hard to make a difference in the world, through our participation in WIPP and through our own careers. 

 

It is truly special when you have a diverse group of women solving problems. I believe that the very best solutions come from open and transparent discussion among female leaders with varying backgrounds, education, experiences, and professional skill sets, but with the same purpose of improving our society. It has been such a pleasure working alongside these women. They take time out of their busy schedules with the common goal of changing the world for the better. 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

Staying aware of what is happening in the public policy world is so important. This has been a chance for me to share my leadership skills with a group of talented women. There are so many benefits to participating in public policy change advocacy besides affecting your society. It has led to new experiences and lasting relationships with fellow business-minded women.

 

What is your proudest moment for ICON?

I was thrilled in 2009 to be named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. It was truly a special moment for me. After so many years of hard work and dedication to growing ICON Information Consultants, LP, and especially as a female entrepreneur making my mark in the industry, I was thrilled to be recognized with such a prestigious award.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with ICON?

The truth is, with any entrepreneurial endeavor, it can be a roller coaster ride. Changes in the economy and the way companies employ individuals directly influence my business. If I could give any advice to fellow female entrepreneurs, it would be to ride the roller coaster, celebrate your successes and work even harder during the downtimes. One of my mottos that I live by is never, ever take no for an answer. Remain persistent and never give up.

 

What advice would you give to a new member looking to be engaged in the WIPP network?

Thank you for joining us! Please make the time to get involved and give back. It is so important to make connections and WIPP is a wonderful way to do that. It is an amazing opportunity to connect with women. It is worth the time and the reward is so valuable, knowing that you made a difference, no matter how big or small, in the world.

 

--

Learn more about Pamela and her team at ICON:

Icon Information Consultants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


 

Tags:  leadership  membership  spotlight 

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Advocacy Update: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

Posted By Advocacy Team, Friday, September 27, 2019

As reported by Bloomberg Government, the Defense Department sought comments this month on a draft of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which would be mandatory in 2020 for every supplier and contractor working with the department. 


WIPP submitted comments on Wednesday, September 25 reiterating that this certification process could be cost prohibitive and restrictive to small businesses. Thank you to cyber expert Angela Dingle, WIPP Board Chair and President & CEO of Ex Nihilo Management, for providing critical input. 

 

Read the full comment letter.

 

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  cybersecurity 

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WIPP Works in Washington: 4 Things for WOSBs to Watch for the Rest of 2019

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2019
Elizabeth Sullivan

Congress will be back in Washington next week, and there is certainly no shortage of items on their to-do list. One of the questions our policy team has been asked time and time again during this month-long recess is our prediction for what is to come for the rest of 2019. Will the government be funded? Will the Senate Small Business Committee’s reauthorization bill move forward? Here are four things you should be watching in the coming months:

 

  1. Funding the Government (Appropriations)

    Here we are again – headed back from August recess without clarity on whether or when the government will be funded for FY2020. If you are a federal contractor, you probably want to pull your hair out. Here is where Congress is in the process so far. The House has passed two packages, or “minibus” bills, which include: minibus 1 (H.R. 2740) - Defense, Energy & Water, Labor-HHS-Education, State-Foreign Operations and minibus 2 (H.R. 3055) - Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA, Transportation-HUD. Due to tensions around funding a border wall and legislator pay raises, the House has not passed the Legislative Branch and Homeland Security bills. So technically, with most of the bills passed, the House is not in terrible shape.


    However, the Senate is woefully behind – they have not started drafting any appropriations bills. If you remember the budget deal wrangling a few weeks ago, the Senate was waiting on this agreement to proceed. It was signed into law right before legislators returned home for August recess. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated  that the Committee hopes to pass a three-bill spending package before the end of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but quick refresher on the appropriations process. There are two types of bills we will keep talking about: regular appropriation bills and continuing resolutions (CR). Continuing resolutions continue the same level of funding from the previous fiscal year into the next fiscal year – a headache for federal contractors. If 12 appropriations bills are not signed into law or a CR is not passed before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, then comes a government shutdown. Many Members of Congress have indicated that there is not an appetite for a government shutdown after the political mess the month-long partial shutdown caused into the beginning of this year. The usual pattern is that there is some type of CR from the beginning of the new fiscal year until around the holidays where the Members of Congress compromise before the clock strikes “Christmas.”


  2. Senate SBA Reauthorization

    Our Action Alert for August recess asked you to tell your Senators to urge the Senate Small Business Committee to move forward with the Small Business Administration (SBA) reauthorization bill. Thank you to many of you who did this – your voices are key to keeping up the pressure for this to happen. While I can speculate on when I think this will happen, I would rather say that it is important to keep an eye out on WIPP’s communications for the current status of the bill and any additional action we need you to take. This bill has too many of WIPP’s priorities included to let it fail.
  3. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

    It has been awhile since we mentioned the NDAA, but it is still something to watch for the rest of the year. The Senate passed its $750 billion bill (S. 1790) on June 27 and the House passed its $733 billion measure (H.R. 2500) on July 12. The bill is now in the conference phase where the House and Senate have to work out the differences before sending a compromised bill to the President for signature. There are a few sticking points that could complicate the upcoming negotiations, including border wall funding and immigration, military action against Iran, and nuclear warheads. There is no shortage of provisions important to the industrial base – small business contractors – in these bills. Stay tuned for the negotiation outcomes. 

  4. 2020 Elections

    Although there is an abundance of news coverage on next year’s Presidential election, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention what is up next. Currently the Democrats are heavily in debate-mode until the end of the year trying to dwindle down the number of potential nominees. Going into the September 12 debate, there are now 10 candidates who qualify, down from the initial 21 hopefuls. Just a little throwback, in the 2016 election there were 17 Republicans vying for the nomination and 6 Democrats. So, what are the next steps? The final Democratic debate before the primary elections begin will take place in December – the first primary will take place in February in New Hampshire. On the Republican side, former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh and former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld have come forward to challenge President Trump. While there are no formal debates for the Republicans, state rules dictate which of these candidates will appear on the primary ballots. 


    In past Presidential elections, WIPP has held sessions at both the Democrat and Republican National Conventions. For those of you who were members in 2016, this is when we debuted the 10 Things Candidates Need to Know about Women Entrepreneurs. Look for 2020 convention activity in the future. It is also important to note that 2020 is not just about the Presidency. The entire U.S. House of Representatives is up for reelection and a third of the U.S. Senate. No matter your party affiliation, make sure you are supporting women candidates that have thrown their hat into the ring.

While the coming months will be plenty busy, it is important to remember that your voice matters. Respond to the call to action. Meet with local Congressional staff. Engage with WIPP Wednesdays. Our work on behalf of women entrepreneurs around the country cannot be done in a vacuum – we need your voice to push policy changes important to WOSBs over the finish line. Join us on the September Policy Update webinar next week to learn more! 


Tags:  Advocacy 

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September President's Message: Back to Business

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Candace Waterman

For many of us, September is a month of transition. Students of all ages are starting school. The seasons distinctly change from the blaze of summer to the autumnal harvest. Yet for our coastal communities, specifically on the East Coast, it can also be a time of watchfulness and worry.

 

Our thoughts are with our business owners affected by Hurricane Dorian. September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and all businesses should ensure they have an updated and relevant plan for emergencies. Access government agency resources and reach out to us if you need additional assistance.


In addition to your emergency plan, now is the time to return to your overall strategic goals to recalibrate and prioritize as we approach the end of the year. As the federal government draws down the fiscal year, corporations, women-owned companies, and organizations need to consider how to meet their Q4 goals.

WIPP stands ready to assist you as we settle into our final months of the year, and we remain aligned on our important priorities for members:


Advocacy:
Congress is in full swing after the summer recess, and we are committed to renewing our efforts to see an SBA Reauthorization bill pass the Senate. Join us next week for the September Policy Update to learn about the results of our Action Alert as well as our advocacy strategy approaching the end of the fiscal year.  

 

Education:
Most of our members already know about our upcoming three-part WEP Digital Communications Series, focusing on LinkedIn. This is the world’s largest search engine for business, and we hope you’ll join us to learn more on how to leverage this platform for positioning, networking, and selling! 


Access:
I’m excited to announce we will be opening ChallengeHER Virtual Contract Connections, which are matchmaking opportunities in partnership with American Express and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Look for dates on ChallengeHER.us for events taking place in November and December. 


As you consider your upcoming opportunities and plans, we hope you’ll use your WIPP Membership and our network in ways to help your business grow. I personally invite you to our monthly Membership Orientation Webinar (on September 18) to learn how to best leverage your membership. 


Although there is no finish line for empowering women business owners, WIPP is always seeking ways to elevate and evolve our programs to better fit our members. Stay informed, stay involved, and let’s face these challenges together!  

Tags:  leadership  opportunities 

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WIPP Member Spotlight - Julie Rothhouse

Posted By Laura Berry, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2019

 

 

Julie Rothhouse
CEO
SynaVoice LLC
WIPP Champion Member since 2015

 

Julie Rothhouse

 

What led you to join WIPP? 

A few weeks after SynaVoice was founded, I attended a ChallengeHER event in Washington, D.C. The women I met ran the gamut from first-time to experienced entrepreneurs all eager to network and help each other.

 

I met Jennifer Bisceglie, a force of nature, who helped me navigate the challenges of starting a business in my first few months and was instrumental in recruiting me to join WIPP. 

 

I was intrigued and excited about the success that WIPP was having in changing the government consulting landscape for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB).

 

I wanted to contribute and give back to the WOSB community to help create a level playing field for future female entrepreneurs.



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

I love the camaraderie of being with other women business owners, sharing our experiences, and learning from each other. My favorite part is celebrating successes – from individual milestones, achievements, and recognition to group successes that benefit all women business owners and are covered in the national press. 

Since I joined WIPP, we celebrated the fact that the FAR adopted the set-aside and sole source rules for WOSBs and we cheered when the government met its WOSB goal of 5% in FY2015. I have a profound respect for the amount of persistence and hard work that it took to achieve those milestones, which made the celebrations that much sweeter. I look forward to more successes and more celebrations.



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

It really does take a village to be a successful federal contractor. My participation in WIPP has directly benefited SynaVoice by opening up a world of trusted resources who have provided advice, counsel, and expertise that helped SynaVoice to gain certifications and win contracts.

SynaVoice works with a number of WIPP connections to provide support in key functional areas such as legal support, contract support, GSA schedule proposals, NIST compliance, and proposal pricing. Importantly for me, WIPP membership also provides information about the legislative landscape for WOSBs and provides opportunities for me to add my voice to influence key outcomes.

 

 

What is your biggest takeaway from WIPP advocacy actions?

SynaVoice is a communications and outreach consultancy. The name SynaVoice is literally the combination of the Greek root ‘syn’ meaning to bring together and the word ‘voice’, meaning the expression of thoughts and ideas. It is our belief that when organizations speak with one voice and have coherent and compelling messaging, they advance their mission. 

The same principle applies to advocacy. The WIPP Policy Priorities enable us to speak with one voice on issues important to WOSBs. We are a powerful and influential group and we can make a difference.

 

 

What is your proudest moment for SynaVoice?


Undoubtedly, the proudest moment was winning our first prime government contract. The process began months before at a networking event where I met another woman business owner and discussed synergies between our businesses. 

We both followed up and kept the conversation going until we found a Sources Sought to pursue together. The capture process was fairly standard and started with a Sources Sought, then a Request for Quotation followed by Orals and an award. 

From the Sources Sought to award took seven months which is speedy by some federal standards. I was particularly proud of the team’s performance at the Orals where we were well-prepared and confident in our presentation.



What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with SynaVoice?


The biggest challenge we face is that the rules for set-asides and sole source awards differ for the various socio-economic groups. Agencies tend to favor programs where they know the established acquisition rules and practices like the 8(a) program. Once a contract is designated as 8(a), it is close to impossible to remove it from that category. So, WOSBs that have incumbent status as a subcontractor do not get the opportunity to compete for the work when their prime graduates from the 8(a) program, unless the WOSB is also designated as an 8(a).

This puts pressure on WOSBs to seek additional designations which is a time consuming process that detracts from other business efforts. While the issue still exists, we are heartened to know that WIPP is constantly advocating for changes that will address issues like this to create a more equitable procurement process for WOSBs.

 

 

What advice would you give to a new member looking to be engaged in the WIPP network? 

 

There are three easy ways to engage with WIPP: 

 

  1. Attend WIPP events. The events are a wonderful way to network with other like-minded businesswomen who can potentially support your business directly or provide introductions to others who can. 
  2. Stay informed. You can stay informed by reading the materials that WIPP distributes and attending WIPP conference calls and debriefs.
  3. Add your voice. Let your representatives know your position on issues that impact business owners. You can let them know in person or send a letter or email. Engaging with WIPP is good for you and good for your business!


Learn more about Julie and her team at SynaVoice at https://synavoice.com/

 

SynaVoice

 

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.

Tags:  leadership  membership  spotlight 

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