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Action Alert: 15 Reasons to Move SBA Reauthorization Forward in the Senate

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Your legislators will be at home in their districts and states from August 5 to September 6 to meet with constituents, like you, to share updates on their efforts in Washington, D.C. They are eager to understand how these efforts are impacting you. Take advantage of this opportunity to continue WIPP’s advocacy work by engaging with your Members of Congress.  

WIPPActionAlert

WIPP has been working closely with the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to make necessary changes to programs benefiting entrepreneurs through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Committee was scheduled to vote on a bill (Chairman’s draft) combining many important changes on July 24. 

 

Unfortunately, the Committee postponed action after failing to agree on proposed regulatory changes contained in the draft legislation.  The Chairman’s draft contains 15 changes that, if passed, will be game-changers for women business owners. 

 

Now is the time to contact your Senators and ask them to express support for moving forward the SBA Reauthorization legislation, including the fifteen below highlights championed/supported by WIPP. 

 

Download our letter to send to your Senators!

 

Contracting

 

  • Raises sole source thresholds to $8 million generally and at $10 million for manufacturing contracts. 
  • Allows sole source contracts for each option year instead of the current one-time award.
  • Amendment to eliminate the rule of two language for sole source contracts from the WOSB, HUBZone, and SDVOSB programs. 
  • Solidifies Small Business Runway Extension Act, allowing for 5-year average of gross receipts for revenue based NAICS codes and adds employee based NAICS codes to the calculation by allowing them to also use a 5-year average for the purposes of size determination.
  • Requires agencies to pay small business contractors for work performed within 15 days of performance. 
  • Requires the SBA to commission an independent external study to determine which industries are underrepresented by women.
  • Allows for equity investment in women and minority owned small businesses for federal contractors by women-owned/minority-owned equity 
  • Adds the SBA as a member of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council.

 

Access to Capital

 

  • Eliminates a rule that prevents SBA from distributing more than 1/55th of its microloans in any one state. 
  • Requires much needed data on microloans, of which women are the largest consumers.

 

Regulatory

 

  • Expands the role of the SBA Office of Advocacy to weigh in on regulations affecting small businesses.
  • Requires a five-year review of regulations’ effect on small businesses. 
  • Allows the Office of Advocacy to write a letter questioning an agency’s certification that a proposed rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, and asking the agency to reconsider.

 

Cybersecurity

 

  • Mandates that the SBA Administrator establish a program to designate employees of lead SBDCs as certified to provide cyber strategy assistance to small businesses. 
  • Directs the SBA to develop a cybersecurity clearinghouse that consolidates federal government cybersecurity information specifically for small business assistance.

Tell your Senator to open doors for women business owners by urging them to express support to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to move forward with SBA Reauthorization legislation. 

Tags:  Advocacy  SBA  Senate Small Business 

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Capital Access for Women a Growing Priority for DC Lawmakers

Posted By Jennifer Mangone, WIPP Advocacy Team, Monday, April 22, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
March was a busy time for WIPP here in Washington. From testifying before the House Small Business Committee (HSBC) to hosting forums on women’s entrepreneurship in both the House and Senate, the importance of WIPP’s 2019 Policy Pillars was heard ‘round the Hill. After all that work in such a short span, one of our Pillars, Increasing Access to Capital for Women-Owned Businesses, is already gaining traction through legislation on the SBA Microloan Program.

The Microloan Program assists entrepreneurs in obtaining loans under $50,000. SBA provides nonprofit intermediary lenders with direct loans. Intermediaries, in turn, provide Microloans to small businesses. At 48.7%, women are the greatest consumers of these Microloans.

Testifying on behalf of WIPP in a HSBC hearing on Modernization of the Microloan Program, Michelle Richards, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, called the 1/55th rule 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, 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 each state. This rule restricts the availability of capital for small businesses in larger states.

Our team worked closely on this issue with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who just introduced the Microloan Program Enhancement Act. The bill adopts two of WIPP’s key recommendations on improvements that should be made to the Microloan Program.

First, the bill would eliminate the 1/55th rule. Second, Senator Duckworth’s bill would require SBA to make publicly available previously unreleased data, another prime recommendation from WIPP’s testimony. The data would include the number of small businesses that remain in business, the number of jobs created and retained, and the impact of the elimination of the 1/55th rule on rural areas by consumers of the Microloan Program.

Meanwhile, back on the House side, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) recently used a hearing in the House Financial Services Committee (HFS) with CEOs of large banks as an opportunity to ask the CEO of Goldman Sachs about initiatives to right the discrepancies in investment to women-owned businesses. Rep. Tipton is the Co-Chair of the House Small Business Caucus and co-led a roundtable on women’s entrepreneurship with WIPP last month.

Today, only 16% of conventional loans and 4.4% of commercial loan dollars go to women-owned businesses. WIPP will continue to push for increased access to capital for women and applauds those in Congress like Senator Duckworth and Congressman Tipton, who are pushing with us.

Tags:  access to capital  microloan  SBA 

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And...We’re Off to the Races

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Senate Small Business Committee holds first hearing of the year with Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon

 

The first Committee hearing in a new Congress sets the tone for the two years ahead—priorities, attitudes and bipartisanship (or lack thereof) are on display. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held their first hearing on February 13 by hearing from Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon.

Three areas of focus bubbled up during the hearing. Challenges facing women-owned small businesses, access to capital and issues around the workforce. 

Committee Members repeatedly mentioned challenges facing women-owned small businesses. Issues from access to capital to access to contracts were raised, signaling the Committee’s dedication to implementing policies that help WOSB’s succeed. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) raised two important questions for WOSB federal contractors. She addressed the delay in a report that was commissioned by Congress to the SBA to look government-wide at small business participation on multiple award contracts (MACs). This legislation was in direct response to WIPP’s report, Do Not Enter: Women Shut Out of U.S. Government’s Biggest Contracts (October 2016). The data is desperately needed to understand the landscape of small business contracting and create future policies that ensure fairness in the federal marketplace. 

Senator Ernst also raised the importance of ensuring small businesses are not shut out of opportunities as the government continues to buy through large contracts. The Administrator pointed to small business goals as a mechanism to hold agencies accountable. WIPP has partnered and participated in roundtables with other business organizations to determine the best path forward to safeguarding small businesses during this shift in acquisition policy. Furthermore, the Administrator shared that the SBA will be launching an innovative interactive digital platform to provide resources for women entrepreneurs, which they predict will expand their outreach capabilities from 150,000 to one million users. 

Another common thread throughout the Committee Member’s questions was access to capital. This is nothing new – women-owned firms still only get 4% of all commercial loan dollars and about 2% of venture capital funding. Additionally, only 18% of 7(a) loans in FY2017 went to women-owned firms and 27% to minority-owned firms. In response, the Administrator expressed the importance of SBA’s Capital Access programs and utilizing them to the fullest extent possible. Senator Duckworth pointed to the need for enhancement of SBA’s micro loan program as a possible solution. Furthermore, in her testimony, the Administrator highlighted that SBA was able to reduce loan processing times by half and provided $60 billion in loan guarantees. Despite this success, the Administrator committed to working to increase awareness of SBA loan offerings and resources for acquiring capital. 

Issues around workforce dominated many questions posed to the Administrator. This aligns with WIPP’s pillar-- rethinking workforce development. Questions centered around the plight of low-wage federal contractor employees and protection from future government shutdowns. Additionally, Senator Coons asked the Administrator what she saw as workforce challenges for small businesses as she traveled around the country last year. Administrator McMahon identified access to a skilled workforce and expressed SBA’s commitment to tackling this problem through its resources around the country.  

The Committee’s priorities align with several of WIPP’s six Policy Pillars. We look forward to continuing work with the Senate Small Business Committee and the SBA around these issues.

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  hearings  SBA 

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