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WIPP Member Lourdes Martin-Rosa Featured in LA Women's Business Examiner

Wednesday, October 13, 2010  
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 Women Procurement Program Rule Passes
October 12th, 2010 12:53 pm PT
By Z Zeitouni <> , LA Women's Business Examiner

What Woman Business Owners Need to Know
Last week, the Small Business Association (SBA) filed the final rule creating the Women's Procurement Program to expand federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses. The rule appeared on the Federal Register Thursday Oct. 7th, creating this long-awaited procurement program, which focuses on 83 industries in which women are underrepresented in the federal contracting marketplace. Program participants will be eligible for set-aside deals of less than $3 million for most contracts and $5 million for manufacturing.

Hopefully, this program will actually benefit the women-owned and veteran-owned small businesses to finally break into government contracting (a pool of over $500billion in contracts.) I do not believe that critics of these programs understand the frustrating disadvantages that go along with being in a minority group and that most of these businesses are just looking for equal access and opportunity. I hope this program serves as a first step in providing this. Only time will tell.

In addition to opening up more opportunities for women business owners, the rule is also another tool to help the government meet its statutory goal that 5% of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses. Women currently receive 3.4% of federal contract dollars.

Participation by women business owners in federal contracting can be a lucrative revenue booster. In fact, two thirds of women whose firms do business with the federal government generate more than $1 million in sales, even though it took them nearly two years, on average, to land their first contract – finds American Express OPEN's government contracting survey of small business owners.

With the passing of this landmark move the question becomes: What do women business owners need to know to seek and obtain government contracts?
Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting, is available to discuss what women business owners can do to take advantage of the new rule and get a leg up on the over $500 billion the U.S. government spends each year on goods and services.
Lourdes offers the following tips:

  • Explore the Small Business Administration's (SBA)certification programs and become familiar with their advantages in contracting
  • Get your business noticedby registering in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) national database and add your business to the Dynamic Small Business Search
  • Do your homework:Find out what the government is purchasing and work with experienced government contractors
As part of "doing your homework,” Lourdes also suggests using other valuable "free” resources. In 2008, American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) joined forces to launch the Give Me 5 program. Give Me 5 aims to increase the representation of women-owned businesses to win 5% of government contracts through regional events, resources, mentorships and online curriculum.

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