Santa’s Wish list for Eight Crazy Nights

By: Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate

Being located in the Nation’s Capital and leading the advocacy team for WIPP, gives us the opportunity to wish for things uniquely Washington. So, in the spirit of the holidays, and maybe a little tongue in cheek, here’s our wish list for Santa with a nod to Hanukkah.

Santa, please bring us:

1. A Congress that knows how to make deals. This is also called bipartisanship but at the heart of the matter, it requires willingness to bend without compromising principles (or giving away the store). A lost art in Washington, straight party votes and initiatives lead to a “do-nothing” Congress. Perhaps the new President–elect, who wrote a book on deal-making, can assist.

2. More women in Congress. Building on the first wish, we know firsthand that women in Congress are inclined to be practical and open to working with the opposing party. The 114th Congress will start with a record 108 women. Santa, please get more women to run for public office.

3. Busting through the 5% women-owned small business goal for federal contracts. We know that record $$$ were awarded to women-owned firms in 2016, but there is so much work to do to ensure they have equal access to federal contracts. Santa, you may have to place some of your elves in federal agencies to make this happen.

4. Rethinking Red Tape. Federal contractors got hit with lots of new requirements, for example, the Executive Order called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces. Although the contracting community pointed out many flaws in these Executive Orders, they were largely ignored. So, Santa, just get rid of these Executive Orders.

5. More WIPP accomplishments for 2017 than we had in 2016. Ok, we know this one’s on us. We have a pretty long list of 2016 accomplishments on the legislative and regulatory side but we want the sled to overflow. Because of our efforts, Health Reimbursement Accounts are an option for small employers, contracts through the WOSB procurement program increased to over $18 billion, there is a new Mentor-Protégé Program for WOSBs, and more!

6. The end of massive motorcades. This really is an inside Washington request, but the motorcades for the President and visiting dignitaries have now reached epic proportions and wait times have stretched to half an hour. Talk about impeding commerce. We could really use a little Santa ”stealth” when it comes to moving the president around the city.

7. A fresh look. We are in the final days of the 114th Congress and about to head into the 115th Congress. Out with the old and in with the new. Here’s hoping Congress hits the reset button to look at women’s business issues in a new way.

8. A stable federal budget cycle. Actions of Congress directly affect the behavior of the economy and the stock market. Congress has all the tools it needs to produce a budget and accompanying appropriations every year. These last budget minute shuffles and funding extensions damage the economy and really put small contractors in a tough place. We realize this is a really big ask. But our understanding is that Santa can work his magic anywhere.

WIPP’s advocacy throughout 2016 has yielded great results for women entrepreneurs, but our strong advocacy is never over. There is still much work to be done. Thank you for your support and happy holidays from the WIPP Policy Team!

Janice Hamilton: WIPP National Partner of the Month – December 2016

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Janice Hamilton

Interview with Janice Hamilton, CEO and founder of CarrotNewYorkContinue reading

WIPP leadership at NASDAQ

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WIPP joined with the NYC Department of Small Business Services to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on Friday, in honor of Small Business Saturday.

WIPP leadership at NASDAQ

Interview with NDC’s Jane Campbell, President of WIPP

jane-campbell1.Can you shortly describe your professional background? Is there any achievement/lessons learned that you are most proud of or would like to share with us?

I started my career in neighborhood development with the Volunteers in Service to America program (VISTA), worked with women’s advocacy organizations for many years, returned to neighborhood economic development and then ran successfully for the Ohio House of Representatives. My path as an elected official included 12 years in the legislature, 5 on the Cuyahoga County Commission and a 4 year term as Mayor of Cleveland. After serving as Mayor, I started my own business doing economic development consulting including advising Goodyear in the financing of their new Headquarters in Akron, OH. I also served as a fellow at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. The real estate crash sent me back into the public sector as Chief of Staff to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Staff Director for the Senate Small Business Committee.  Now I lead the Washington office of the National Development Council (NDC), an extremely creative nonprofit dedicated to bringing capital into underserved communities to create jobs, build affordable housing and create communities. NDC provides small business lending especially to women and minorities in underserved areas.

In every position that I’ve had the opportunity to hold I worked to be sure that women were full participants, that low income and minority communities were well served and that public private partnerships between government, business, and local community leaders were key to the engagement.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that collaboration is vital to success and that women are incredibly hard workers.

2. When did you hear about WIPP for the first time and what resonated with you the most?

I learned about WIPP when I was Sen. Mary Landrieu’s chief of staff.  Sen. Landrieu chaired the Senate small business committee and we found WIPP to be one of the most effective coalitions on Capitol Hill. Later when I was the Staff Director of the Senate Small Business Committee under the leadership of Sen. Maria Cantwell I saw WIPP in action when several hundred women appeared to advocate for greater federal contracting opportunities.

3. What shaped your decision to become WIPP President?

The partnership that we are creating between the National Development Council(NDC) and WIPP is a new frontier of creative engagement.  For over 40 years NDC worked to bring capital into underserved communities by providing training in economic development finance, technical assistance to communities and economic development entities, the creation of Public private partnerships and lending to small businesses – especially those businesses owned by women and minorities. Our work with WIPP will strengthen both organizations as we pursue access to capital for women entrepreneurs, creating the strongest voice for women whose businesses are creating jobs and futures for key populations. 

I took the role as President of the WIPP coalition to strengthen this partnership and to provide the leadership needed for WIPP to move into the future while staying fully committed to my work as director of the NDC Washington office.  Knowing that Roz Alford is there as Managing Director to lead the day to day work of the office allowed me to say yes.

4. Do you have any particular vision for WIPP?

Our Coalition of businesses and associations can emerge from its already strong position to be clearly the voice of women entrepreneurs.  By building a strong national network of women in business and advocates for women in business the WIPP Coalition should be able to enhance opportunities by connecting policy makers and women business owners to craft meaningful policy that will enhance access to capital, improve contracting opportunities and create a fair tax code.

5. Do you have any message for WIPP members? 

The strength of the WIPP Coalition is the active engagement of our members – please join in our work!

Small Things Come In Big Packages

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May 2016 WIPP Works In Washington

Small Things Come In Big Packages

By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Government Relations Team

 

In an epic week fueled by bipartisanship, the Senate Small Business Committee and the House Armed Services Committee put small business issues front and center in a way that was nothing short of amazing. This just goes to show that the “do-nothing Congress” does in fact do plenty when it comes to small business.

Let’s first talk about the Senate Small Business Committee. Members of the Committee introduced and are expected to pass three bills important to WIPP. One bill would extend the Small Business and Innovative Research program (SBIR) and a related program the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR) and included a mandate to do better outreach to women and minorities (thanks to Michigan’s Senator Gary Peters). The government funds innovative products and services through federal grants to bring the products to commercialization. Don’t know about it—look into it at: SBIR.gov. By the way, this is part of WIPP’s access to capital platform – so another accomplishment for our advocacy.

Are you a contractor? Then you might be interested in the introduction of The Small Business Transforming America’s Regions Act of 2016. If you aren’t aware of the HUBZone program, you should look into it. The government gives a bid preference to companies who invest in low-income areas. It could supplement the WOSB program you already belong to. At least check it out at SBA’s HUBZone Page.

Need capital? The Committee is expected to modernize the Microloan Program administered by the SBA. The program lends $50,000 and below to companies who need capital. In case you didn’t know it, there is a whole nationwide network of lenders who stand ready to lend, backed by the government’s guarantee against failure.

Now onto the House Armed Services Committee. This Committee and its counterpart, the Senate Armed Services Committee, prepare a bill each year, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that funds all military operations. It is a must-pass bill because the military requires certainty in funding. In order for the US to keep its competitiveness, it must have a strong and diverse industrial base. That’s where small businesses come in.

To that end, a whole section of the bill is devoted to small business contracting changes and strengthening resources for women entrepreneurs including women’s business centers. The bill:

 

  • Requires an annual report on the share of contract dollars awarded to small businesses without any exclusions
  • Establishes a pilot program that enables contractors to receive a past performance rating by submitting a request to the contracting officer and/or prime contractor
  • Requires the SBA to develop a list of no-cost programs that assist small businesses in compliance with Federal regulations.
  • Strengthens agency small business offices to recommend which small business set-aside programs should be used for each contract at their agency.
  • Requires commercial market representatives (CMRs) to assist prime contractors in identifying small business subcontractors and assess the prime’s compliance with their subcontracting plans
  • Adds HUBZone and SDVOSB to small business office oversight (previously not listed in statute but already happening in practice)

 

In case you do not remember, the Women’s Business Center reforms would raise the funding authorization level by 50% from $14.5M to $21.75M and increase grants to individual centers as well as streamline the program. Better program, better training for women.

How did all of this happen? Champions. The leadership of the House Small Business Committee, which passed the provisions now part of the NDAA, worked together hand-in-glove to assist our businesses. Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) set the gold standard of getting things done without a partisan fuss. Similarly, the Senate Small Business Committee, under the guidance of Chair David Vitter (R-LA) and Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) worked together to introduce reforms good for small businesses.

The real story behind all of this activity is the power of small businesses uniting to ask for changes in contracting and better resources to succeed. Organizations, such as WIPP are the champions, walking the halls of Congress to press for better programs and fairness in contracting.

While I would agree that Congress is more partisan than ever before, there are bright spots. This past week was certainly one—all made possible by elected officials crossing party lines for the good of women-owned companies. If you ever wondered what your WIPP membership is paying for or if you need a reason to join WIPP, look no further. The advocacy WIPP provides on your behalf is the best return on investment you may ever find. It requires almost none of your time, requires a minimal monetary investment (dues) and you get a whole team dedicated to advancing your agenda to the Congress on a daily basis.

I call that value.

 

May 2016 WIPP National Partner of the Month – JeFreda Brown

JeFredaRBMay 2016 WIPP National Partner of the Month

JeFreda Brown, CEO, Goshen Business Group, LLC

 

WIPP sat down with JeFreda to hear a little bit more about her business and relationship with us:

Tell us a little about your company and its mission.

Goshen Business Group, LLC is a full service consulting firm. We provide financial and business compliance consulting services. Our focuses are compliance, risk management, and fraud. We service small to large sized organizations in the US and are looking to expand internationally. We provide our services through consulting and professional development training. We also can develop training courses.

Our mission is to educate organizations on their financial responsibilities. This includes helping them learn and understand federal, state, local, and industry regulations and laws to develop and maintain compliant financial practices.

 

Have you always been an entrepreneur? If not, what inspired you to take the leap?

Actually, when I was 7 I used to pray and tell God I wanted to be a business owner one day so I could be rich and help people. I left my job with the Federal Government in January 2011 to go full time into my business. I felt like I wasn’t using my full potential and that I needed to do more to help others. I have so much knowledge that can be very valuable to those who need it. My grandfather worked for the federal Government, but he also had his own construction business. He was my biggest inspiration growing up. Seeing him as an entrepreneur and how he helped so many people gave me the courage to take the leap.

 

What is your biggest lesson learned working with the Federal Government?

I would say the biggest lesson I learned while working with the Federal Government was to be very detailed. I was a Senior Auditor with Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). We were trained to be very thorough and detailed. That has helped me tremendously in my business. I also learned how very important risk assessments and fraud detection are. I have taken those lessons and now teach them to my clients.

 

Do you have a success story that you are particularly proud of? Tell us about it!

I have several, but I can roll them up into one. I am always getting feedback from my clients letting me know how much they appreciate my help. They say, “we don’t know these things, and we need someone like you to help us and keep us out of trouble”. One client told me that she doesn’t think enough people recognize how much knowledge I have and how much I can help their companies. I have had so many clients who have received bad advice from others, but they found me, and I was able to fix things that were done incorrectly by others.

 

Tell us about your experience as a WIPP member? What resources/value has WIPP provided that has been helpful to you and your company?

I have truly enjoyed being a WIPP member the last 5 years. It has been a great learning experience for me. WIPP provides so many valuable resources for women owned businesses and professionals. The monthly webinars are awesome. I was even asked to do a webinar training a couple of years ago on DCAA Audits, and it’s now part of the contracting certification program. Not only am I learning what I need for my business, but I’m also connecting with and interacting with other amazing women. I’m building great business relationships with these women. WIPP has also shown me that they value me and trust me by selecting me to be a part of the Procurement Committee, Leadership Advisory Council, and now Treasurer on both the WIPP Board of Directors and Education Foundation Board of Directors. You have to be involved to get value out of WIPP. You have to actively participate in the things WIPP offers. No other organization for women offers what WIPP offers, in my opinion. WIPP has a reach across the globe, and it’s growing more and more. It will soon be up there in the ranks like huge international nonprofits such as UNICEF.

Twitter: @GoshenBG

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoshenBG/

Last Chance! Vote for WIPP Leaders in the 2015 Small Business Influencer Awards

Vote-120x240-aWe are proud to announce that Barbara Kasoff (WIPP President Emeritus),  Ann Sullivan (WIPP’s Chief Advocate) and Dr. Sharon Hadary (WIPP Leadership Advisory Council Member) have been nominated for the 2015 Small Business Influencer Awards in the category of Leaders.

The Small Business Influencer Awards honor those who are influential to small businesses in North America, through the products, services, knowledge, information, or support they provide to the small business market.  The Awards are designed to recognize the unsung heroes of small businesses – those who support and encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners, and help them achieve success and stay successful.

Please cast your vote by November 5, 2015 in support for one of these fantastic WIPP leaders:

The Awards can be found on the Web at: http://influencers.smallbiztrends.com/

Don’t forget to vote!

Want Global Economic Growth? Hire a Woman

By Jennifer Bisceglie, WIPP Board Member & WIPP International President

According to the World Bank, the past four years have seen tepid economic growth, with global GDP growing at under 3% annually. While 2.5% growth is far better than the rate of -2.1% that was seen at the low point of the 2009 recession, it doesn’t begin to meet the rates of over 4% that was seen during the mid 1990s and 2000s. Economists have been saying for some time that we are looking at the new economic “normal”. But does that have to be the last word?

IMG_6573[1]Few weeks ago I traveled to São Paulo, Brazil and Ankara, Turkey where I had the opportunity to represent WIPP and WIPP International and our members in critical discussions about global economic development. At both events, leaders from governments, NGOs and the business world took the stage to reiterate the need for gender inclusive growth policies.

In São Paulo, the International Trade Center’s (ITC) Women and Trade Programme hosted the annual Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF), which seeks to increase the participation of women owned businesses in global supply chains. According to the ITC, women globally own almost 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which account for almost 80% of jobs around the world. It is well known that supporting an environment that encourages entrepreneurship spurs job growth.

At the event, ITC Executive Director Arancha González called on world leaders, governments, and the business community to develop economic and procurement policies that will create one million more women entrepreneurs by 2020. The call to action will impact local and global markets by stimulating job creation at record levels.

In Ankara, the G20 launched the Women-20 (W20), an engagement group focused on promoting gender-inclusive economic growth. The group’s mandate is to advance recent G20 commitments on: women’s full economic and social participation (Los Cabos Leaders’ Declaration, 2012); women’s financial inclusion and education (St Petersburg Leaders’ Declaration, 2013); and gap reduction in participation rates between men and women in G20 countries by 25 percent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances (Brisbane Leaders’ Declaration, 2014).

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made an impassioned speech about the potential of the W20 to positively impact the global economy. Today, in the G20, male economic participation is 86%, but only 56% for women. He added that for every 1% rise in female participation, it is estimated the global economy will grow an additional $80 billion and a 10% rise would increase the global GDP by an amount equivalent to Turkey’s annual GDP today.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde highlighted that data compiled by the World Bank indicates 90% of countries still have laws that discriminate against women. She admitted that the IMF in the past has not had a strong focus on women, but the impact to women and the potential of women in the economy is now considered in every IMF country visit. She added that words are important, but to echo Prime Minister Davutoğlu, it is what gets implemented and the outcomes that are achieved, which really matter.

The important takeaway from these meetings is not that gender inclusive growth policies are the moral or right thing to do, but that they are the smart economic thing to do. Increasing women’s participation in the global economy has the potential to add to the global GDP the economic equivalent of a new China or India. In a time when no one is quite happy with the “new normal” economy, isn’t this the smart thing to do for everyone, both men and women?

The Lack of Mentorship for Working Women

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by Annie Wilson, Intern

In today’s modern business world, it is widely accepted that mentorship relationships can be beneficial, especially in the context of career mobility. Young professionals can benefit from mentorship as a way to elevate their career status and attain high level positions in their company or obtain a second opinion for their career strategy. For entrepreneurs, mentorship can help a company thrive immensely by just having the benefit of vetted experience and advice that a mentor can provide. This advising can be crucial in the startup phase of a business as mentorship advice is an incredible asset to tap into in the preliminary stages of business development. With more and more startups and entrepreneurial activity in today’s modern world, mentorship is as crucial as ever for eager young business owners who are looking to start their own business.

However, historically it has been more difficult for women to have accessibility to mentors as opposed to men and this trend has been made clear in a number of ways. Peggy Drexler, a gender and business blogger for Forbes, outlines the current state of female mentorship in her recent article, “Can Women Succeed Without a Mentor?” In her findings, she reports that according to a 2011 McKinsey Report 53% of entry level positions are occupied by female employees but, as the jobs increase in caliber, female representation starkly declines at 37% for mid manager positions and 26% for vice president positions and above. This decline leaves a disproportional ratio of potential mentors to mentees and purports that with fewer women occupying higher level positions, there are fewer women eligible to mentor. Another factor in female mentorship is that women often feel as though they cannot allocate the appropriate time and effort to mentor somebody due to familial time constraints. In fact, a study from the American Psychological Association reported that the female figure that young women wanted to emulate the most were working executives who balanced their professional and family lives. However, this was the group that had the least time to mentor. An additional explanation to the lack of female to female mentorship sources from the problem that mentorship benefits are not being made readily apparent to mentee candidates. According to networking organization Levo League, 95% of millennials have never sought out a mentor. Perhaps this trend stems from the generational attitude towards self-sustainability in the workplace that is commonly associated with the millennial generation or that workplace environments are not making an effort to forge these relationships. According to the 2010-2011 World Economic Forum Report assessing gender diversity in 20 countries, only 59% of companies said they led internal mentoring programs and only 28% of companies had programs specific for women. Even if one of these factors holds truth in a working environment, female mentorship can clearly be difficult to obtain.

A mentor-mentee relationship can be a mutually beneficial for both participants. Mentees gain the benefit of learning from the mentor’s own processes in their early stages and the lessons and learning opportunities can be extremely impactful for a developing young professional. However, the mentor benefits in a very clear way as well. Mentors are often forced to change their way of managing and teaching to best communicate with their mentee, especially if there is a generational difference. The mentor may become more confident and efficient in working with younger professionals in general and their management skills as an aging professional are given an added dimension of flexibility. Not to mention, working with a mentee opens up a whole new professional network that a mentor can have better access to. Many mentors also see mentorship as a way to give back to the industry they invested their career in and as a way to perpetuate their work ethic and methods into the generations to come.

Barbara Corcoran, co-founder of Corcoran Venture Partners and investor on the hit show Shark Tank, reveals 3 traits to look out for when finding a mentor:

  1. “Choose a mentor you want to be like, not just someone you like. When you choose a mentor, pick someone you wish to emulate. It’s their “know-how” you wish to learn, and you learn more when you respect who’s teaching.
  2. Look for a mentor who is brutally honest. Compliments are always nice, but they won’t propel you to greatness. You need a mentor who won’t hesitate to give you difficult feedback—someone quick to call out your strengths andyour weaknesses.”
  3. Choose a mentor who has also failed. I fail often and fail well, and I’ve learned how to sniff out great success in the midst of failure. Sharing that belief can keep your company bold and motivated and miles ahead of everyone else afraid of failing.”

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or finding one, ask around in your work environment to see if there are any ongoing programs that your company offers. If not, check out this great article giving advice on how to find a mentor or these mentorship organizations:

Meet the World’s Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire: Elizabeth Holmes.

by Annie Wilson, InternEH

According to Forbes, Elizabeth Holmes has been named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Earlier this month she was named as Time Magazine’s List of 100 most influential people. Her billion dollar idea?: a revolutionary way to make blood testing accessible for anybody. Holmes’ company, Theranos, created a system that brings together a minimally invasive and needle free method of blood withdrawal with hundreds of low cost tests that almost anyone could afford. Holmes’ intention is to restructure our healthcare system to be more preventative as opposed to a reactive:

“The current health care paradigm is one in which diagnosis often takes place after symptoms are already present, and diseases have begun to progress. We’re committed to changing that. We’re pioneering a new paradigm in which lab testing is accessible and affordable for everyone. When cost is no longer a consideration and people no longer have to be symptomatic in order to get a test. Meaning your patients can get the tests they need, and you can get the information you need, early and in time for therapy to be effective.” – Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos website

Holmes attended Stanford University but dropped out at the age of 19 to start Theranos in 2003. Since then, Holmes has impressed investors with the potential commercial, military, and humanitarian applications of her idea. Holmes has also acquired a very impressive board of directors, including former cabinet secretaries George Shultz, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger, two former Senators, a retired CentCom commander, a retired Navy admiral and a former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She has rapidly developed her company since 2003 and has notably partnered with Walgreens to build thousands of Wellness Centers for Theranos to carry out its testing. To date, Theranos has also accumulated $92 million in venture capital funding from investors like Larry Ellison and Draper Fisher Jurvetson with her first venture capital funding worth $5.8 million in 2005 at the age of 21. Holmes owns 84 patents to her name and Theranos is estimated to be worth $9 billion with Holmes owning half of its stock.

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Holmes:

  • Click here for a video about how she came up with her business idea.
  • Click here for a timeline of Theranos’ conception
  • Click here to watch a TED Talk given by Holmes about the importance of early detection