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President's Message: The Next Six Weeks

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020
I hope this message finds you, your family, and your business safe and well. My thoughts are with those directly affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including essential personnel called to serve during this time of crisis.
Candace Waterman
As part of our pivot to address challenges felt immediately by all our stakeholders, WIPP began offering free weekly Monday webinars at 2 PM ET on The Intersectionality of COVID-19 and The Small Business Community.

In addition to our ongoing programming over the next six weeks, WIPP commits to provide up-to-the-minute policy news; funding updates from our partners at corporations, strategic partner organizations, and public agencies; and a topic of importance for our small business community each week. These webinars are free and open to the public, and we welcome audience questions.

WIPP is also debuting our ACE HelpDesk, a multi-dimensional group of experts and resources who provide WIPP Members assistance with questions and basic challenges relevant to business policy, federal contacting, and private sector contracting. Email to learn more.
We hope you have a chance to see the tangible advocacy, community, and education benefits we will bring to the small business community during this challenging time. Please check for updates, and do not hesitate to reach out to me for assistance.

Tags:  COVID-19  President's Message 

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Guidance for Federal Contractors During COVID-19

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Multiple documents have been issued – and expect more in the coming days – with guidance for agencies and contractors on how to operate with the disruptions from COVID-19. Make sure to check for ongoing business resources, and for the most up-to-date information on this list below, visit the MSGI websiteElizabeth Sullivan

Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

Memorandum to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Managing Federal Contract Performance Issues Associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Margaret Weichert, Deputy Director for Management

  • Agencies should be flexible in providing extensions to performance dates if telework or other flexible work solutions, such as virtual work environments, are not possible, or if a contractor is unable to perform in a timely manner due to quarantining, social distancing, or other COVID-19 related interruptions

Harnessing Technology to Support Mission Continuity – Margaret Weichert, Deputy Director for Management 

  • Administration directs that agencies utilize technology to the greatest extent practicable to support mission continuity

Department of Defense (DoD):

Class Deviation – Progress Payment Rates – Kim Herrington, Acting Principal Director for Defense Pricing and Contracting

  • Pentagon will temporarily increase the percentages paid to contractors, known as periodic progress payments
    Increases the rate for contracts from 80% to 90% of incurred costs for large businesses
    For small businesses the rate will go from 90% to 95%

Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce – Ellen Lord, Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

  • If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule
  • The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce for the DIB includes workers who support the essential products and services required to meet national security commitments to the Federal Government and the U.S. Military

Contract Place of Performance – Kim Herrington, Acting Principal Director for Defense Pricing and Contracting 

  • DoD providing maximum telework flexibility for contractors 

Additional Agencies:

Additional Resources:

Tags:  COVID-19  federal contracting 

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Action Alert: COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Businesses Act of 2020

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, March 20, 2020

WIPP knows our members are experiencing major difficulties during this challenging time, and we are joining other contracting organizations in creating a unified voice and provide concrete recommendations to assist women business owners during this crisis. Our Advocacy Team has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Business Act of 2020.



Read the WIPP Letter to the Senate Small Business Committee and take action to support core components of the package. 


We Need Your Action

  • Sign on to our letter.
  • Share this Action Alert with your WOSB community. 
  • Encourage responses by 5 PM ET on Friday, March 20. 

Tags:  Action Alert  Advocacy  COVID-19 

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The Impact of COVID-19: Business Resources

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, March 13, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020

As the world grapples with COVID-19, WIPP is closely monitoring the CDC's global health status and encouraging everyone to follow your local, state, and federal government guidelines for public health. Due to ongoing concerns, our organization is suspending on-site and in-person activities for the near future.


WIPP will still serve our business ecosystem through our online-based resources. We are committed to keeping a strong community connection for all our stakeholders throughout this challenging time. As we move forward, we are thinking about business continuity, especially for our small business owners, our corporate and agency partners, and our strategic organizational partners.



WIPP Up-To-The-Minute Webinars

Monday, March 16: Download the recording


WIPP President & CEO Candace Waterman moderates a discussion about the crisis response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and resources for small business owners. Panelists included

  • Barbara (Barb) Carson, U.S. Small Business Administration Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting & Business Development
  • Angela Dingle, President & CEO of ExNihilo Management and WIPP Board Chair
  • Courtney Fairchild, President & CEO of Global Services and WIPP Vice Chair
  • Rebecca Boenigk, CEO of Neutral Posture and WIPP Treasurer
  • Ann Sullivan, President & CEO of MSGI and WIPP Chief Advocate



Business Resources

Last updated: 03/19/2020

We will update this list of resources and news as it becomes available:


United States Congressional updates

WIPP Agency Partner-Provided Resources:

WIPP Corporate Partner-Provided Resources: 

WIPP Member-Provided Resources: 

For more information, follow WIPP at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For questions, please email

Tags:  community  COVID-19  resource 

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Access to Childcare: A Dual Issue for Small Businesses

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Friday, March 13, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

No one disputes the need for access to quality and affordable childcare. Like small business issues, this has been a rallying cry for both sides of the political aisle. However, something has been missing in this discussion – recognizing that childcare providers are also small business owners. 

Elizabeth Sullivan The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing on this issue, Taking Care of Business: How Childcare is Important for Regional Economies. This hearing was personal because I worked in several daycares in Chicago, including teaching at a Head Start center, and I saw the needs and problems firsthand.

One of the things discussed were public-private partnerships. Witness Dan Levi of the Black Hawk Childcare Coalition in Iowa highlighted how these have positively impacted his community. The Coalition provides support to communities with detailed business plans, architectural review of possible projects, funding opportunity consultation, community engagement tactics, and facilitation of public-private partnerships. Grants from organizations such as the Iowa Women’s Foundation help childcare centers in his community with financial stability and resources that are free and distributed through the Child Care Resource & Referral offices around the state.

Also discussed was the regulatory burden on childcare centers. I can’t emphasize enough how this impacts childcare operations. While there are necessary regulations to ensure health and safety, complying with these regulations is a substantial time commitment. Not to mention it sometimes turns into the sole focus of the daycare operations – pushing classroom issues aside.

There is an increased role for the SBA – helping these childcare small business owners with the business side of the house. For example, the Chicago Women’s Business Center has many resources for childcare centers. However, many childcare centers, including the ones I worked in, have no idea these resources exist. 

During my time at the Head Start center in Chicago, Illinois, the state was in a funding standoff, and there was no subsidized money coming from the state to help families pay for the cost of childcare. Childcare center owners had a decision to make – charge families the full amount or try to float the cost. In this case, the center served 100% low-income children. The owner, like many others, were forced to ask families to pay the entire amount – or their children would be turned away. As you can imagine, this caused a huge strain on the families served by the center. 

SBA could contribute its business instruction and lending programs to these childcare center owners. Access to better business resources would equip these owners with strategies to deal with cash flow issues and funding lapses. 

A perspective I felt was missing from the hearing was the duality of childcare centers also being small businesses. One of the ways Congress has attempted to tackle this issue is through language in the FY19 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Included was the ability for states to use funds to Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to strengthen the business practices of childcare providers to expand the supply and improve the quality of child care services. Areas of support for childcare providers may include, but are not limited to, such practices related to fiscal management, budgeting, record-keeping, as well as hiring, developing, and retaining qualified staff.

Childcare issues are not simply a family issue—it is also an employer issue. Employers lose $4 billion annually due to absenteeism. Many of those days are due to lack of adequate childcare. This Committee hearing was a good start in raising awareness that childcare centers are also small businesses. It’s time to find more resources for these business owners – the issue of quality childcare is not going away.

The WIPP Advocacy Team provides thought leadership on WIPP Policy Priorities

This column focuses on the following priority:


Rethink workplace development

Key to the success of women-owned businesses is human capital – a dynamic workforce that meets the needs of an ever-changing business environment. Government and business need to work together to ready a workforce that can meet those challenges.


Tags:  Advocacy  childcare  development  workplace 

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Advocacy Update: SBA Microloan Program Goes To Markup

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Updated on March 11, 2020 at 1 PM EDT


Today, only 16% of conventional loans and 4.4% of commercial loan dollars go to women-owned businesses. One of WIPP’s Policy Priorities, to “Increase access to capital for women-owned businesses,” continues to gain traction through legislation modernizing the SBA Microloan Program. 

The House Committee on Small Business (HSBC) held a markup March 11 where both SBA Microloan Program modernization bills, H.R. 6079 and H.R. 6078, passed the Committee unanimously without amendments.Chair Nydia Velázquez acknowledged WIPP for its support. Next stop will be vote by the full House.

 March 7, 2019 HSBC Hearing

As I reminder, the SBA Microloan Program assists entrepreneurs in obtaining loans under $50,000. SBA provides funds to nonprofit intermediary lenders. Intermediaries, in turn, provide microloans to small businesses. At 48.7%, women are the greatest consumers of these microloans.

In March 2019, at a HSBC hearing on Modernization of the Microloan Program, Michelle Richards, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, testified on behalf of WIPP. She called attention to the 1/55th rule as the number one pain point for microlenders and advocated for its elimination in any modernization of the program. 

The 1/55th rule, which was implemented as part of the pilot program in 1991. Current law requires that for the first half of each fiscal year the lesser of $800,000 (or 1/55th of available loan funds) is made available to loan intermediaries in every state, restricting the availability of capital for small businesses in larger states and underutilization of available funds by smaller states.

On the Senate side, our Advocacy Team worked closely on this issue with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) last April, who introduced the Microloan Program Enhancement Act (S. 996). The bill adopts two of WIPP’s key recommendations on improvements that should be made to the Microloan Program. Read more



Tags:  Advocacy  microloan  SBA 

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Appropriations Season: The Process Behind Funding the Government

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Monday, March 9, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

It’s that time again - groups of all different interests are preparing to flock to the Hill to get in their appropriations requests. Spring is always the kick-off point for the appropriations and budget process to begin for the following fiscal year and it is time to get the ball rolling. 

In February of each year, the President submits a budget request to Congress. It is important to note that the President’s budget is not a binding document and should be thought of as more of a “wish list” than an actual budget. The agencies (which, as a reminder, are headed by a person of the President’s choosing), release their budget requests; the individual House and Senate committees release their views and estimates of what programs within their jurisdictions should be allocated; and, in March, the House and Senate Budget Committees draft budget resolutions, a final product of which is due on April 15. 

The House and Senate generally pass separate budget bills, which set the top-level spending number for the next fiscal year. One thing you might not realize about the budget is that it does not have to go to the President for approval and it is not a law – the budget is the guide that appropriators use in setting appropriations for individual agencies and programs. 

Last year, Congress put into place a two-year budget plan, which governs this year’s budget numbers as well.

During the time that the Budget Committees are beginning their work, the Appropriations Committees, as well as individual Member offices, are accepting requests from groups and constituents to be included in the process. 

This year, WIPP submitted 2021 Appropriations Requests advocating for funding for critical SBA programs that are beneficial for women entrepreneurs, like the Microloan Program and Women’s Business Centers. Our efforts have proven successful the last few years, and we have seen increases in funding for nearly all programs we advocated for.

Read the 2021 WIPP Appropriations Request Letters to the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Committee on Appropriations:

After requests have been submitted, the House drafts its appropriations bills, usually in May or June. There are 12 of these bills that set individual spending levels for individual agencies. They are accompanied by “directives,” that include specific instructions to agencies. The individual bills must be passed out of the Appropriations Subcommittee under which it falls (e.g., the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has jurisdiction over SBA), the full Appropriations Committee, and the full House. The bills can see a number of amendments before they are passed.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the process is identical; however, under the Constitution, all budget and appropriations measures must originate in the House as all revenue-generating measures must begin there. Once both chambers have each completed their appropriations bills, they must reconcile the differences between the two in what is referred to as Conference. If everything is running on schedule, the Conference should take place in September, right before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

But, as you likely know, everything is not usually running on schedule. More often than not, Congress passes at least one, if not more, continuing resolution (CR), which extends funding at the levels from the previous fiscal year. Passing a CR prevents the government from shutting down while Congressional leaders come to an agreement on the 12 spending bills. Frequently, the bills end up being passed as a package, referred to as an “omnibus,” around the end of the calendar year, sometimes later. 

By that time, it’s time for the whole process to start all over again. The WIPP Advocacy Team will talk through our 2021 Appropriations Requests during the monthly Policy Update webinar on Wednesday, March 11. For questions or comments, reach out to



Tags:  Advocacy  Appropriations  budget 

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President's Message - Sharing Facts About Women Entrepreneurs

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, March 4, 2020

2020 marks the historic 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote. In an election year, it has never been more important to discuss the economic powerhouse of women entrepreneurs.
6 Facts About Women Entrepreneurs
Kick off Women’s History Month by downloading our infographic Six Facts You Need To Know about U.S. Women Entrepreneurs, which includes examples of current legislation and member action on important topics. Share with your community leaders, your industry colleagues, and most importantly, your Members of Congress.


WIPP is always committed to making our members the center of our work. We debuted the infographic during the monthly WIPP Community Connection webinar, where we discussed the importance of voter education for all women businesses. I hope you'll join us to learn more about what we're working on for all women business owners across the country.



Tags:  President's Message 

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The WIPP Connection - March 2020

Posted By Team WIPP, Wednesday, March 4, 2020
WIPP Connection

Connections make our community stronger. It all starts with a simple hello. Check our WIPP Connection column each month on the WIPP In Action blog and our monthly email update. Our goal is to ensure you have the information to join us where you are and make connections with WIPP leadership, staff, and other members!


We hope to see you sometime this month at one of these events:


**Note: Some events have been removed from the calendar due to recent public health alerts. Please stay tuned to WIPP's Calendar of Events for up-to-date information. 



Tags:  events 

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DoD’s CMMC is Moving Full Steam Ahead With or Without You

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Read a quick refresher on CMMC. The final model for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) came out earlier this year. So, what’s next for businesses? 

Elizabeth Sullivan


Let’s talk certification.

Now that version 1.0 of CMMC was released – the final version– DoD is moving full steam ahead. The “accreditation body” has been formed, which is an independent, non-profit group that is responsible for developing the training and assessment standards for the certification. The next step in the certification journey for DoD is forming a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the accreditation body, which will outline the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties. Finally, “accreditors” – of which there are none currently – will be responsible for evaluating businesses and assigning them a CMMC certification level. If all of this third-party stuff leaves you scratching your head, just know that DoD is outsourcing the accreditation of over 300,000 contractors with plans for substantial oversight.

Substantial questions remain for contractors. One of the biggest is the timing of the certification rollout. The Department has said that they will issue 10 “pathfinder” solicitations that require various CMMC levels, including a few that will require level 4 or 5 certifications. Since these will be substantial contracts, if you are a small business tapped to subcontract on one of these – when will you get certified? Will there be some type of cue, where the biggest companies go first? Or will it be ranked by the amount of anticipated work? This remains to be determined.


Let’s talk levels.

While the CMMC levels have been refined throughout the DoD’s drafting process, it is important to know that there are five levels. Any contractor, regardless of the type of work they do that wants to do business with DoD will need at least a level one. Level one is the most basic cyber hygiene, which has some noteworthy differences from NIST 800-171. The Defense Department has said that most small businesses only need a level one. But I wouldn’t take that assessment at face value. It is important for small/midsize companies to determine the appropriate level they want to prepare for based on the work they do, or plan to do, for the DoD. For example, if your company handles any Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) you will need at least a level three. By the way, these levels will also apply to subcontractors. Which brings me into the next section of this article – unknowns. 


Let's talk unknowns.

I was recently on a panel at the Women Leaders in Defense & Aerospace Law & Compliance Conference, where I shared the stage with the other two sides of the CMMC equation – a lawyer and prime. One of the things that I learned is that concerns span all business sizes—small businesses aren’t the only ones with questions. First and foremost is how the DoD will handle CMMC certification levels for subcontracted work. There has been a lot of conflicting information about this component flying around, but the latest and greatest (as of the time this is published) is that the program managers for both the DoD and prime contractor will work together to determine the appropriate CMMC levels for the components of subcontracted work.

Another unknown is how a company can dispute an assigned level by an accreditor. While the accreditation body will have some sort of mechanism to address this, DoD’s involvement in this process is unclear. This is an important question because certification levels will be assigned for a three-year period. Finally – and this is a big one – the total cost for contractors remains to be seen. DoD has not yet provided any specific information on the cost of obtaining the certification. Some good news is that something that is known (and has been for a while) is that DoD will not seek levels retroactively – meaning that no current contracts will be modified to require a certain certification level. All of this is to say, stay tuned.


WIPP recently offered a member webinar, "The Ugly Truth about CMMC," hosted by WIPP Board Chair and cybersecurity expert Angela Dingle. We intend to continue to provide the most updated education on this certification roll-out.

Moral of the story is – as a federal contractor, it is time to pay attention if you aren’t already. Although CMMC is only for the DoD supply chain, in the future it could impact civilian agencies as well. So, get ready – it’s moving full steam ahead with or without you. 


Tags:  cybersecurity 

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more Calendar

FountainHead: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Panel Event (VIRTUAL)

9/29/2020 » 10/1/2020
WIPP Virtual Symposium on Cyber Resiliency

WIPP Advocacy Update - October 2020

WIPP Intersectionality Series

WIPP Community Connections - October 2020

Featured Members
Jeanette Prenger (Hernandez)President & CEO, ECCO Select, North Kansas City, MO — September 2020 Member Spotlight
Tina PattersonPrincipal, Jade Solutions, Germantown, MD — August 2020 Member Spotlight

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