2017: A Banner Year for WIPP & Women Business Owners

WIPP was busy this year educating policymakers, women business owners, the media and the public about what women business owners need to succeed. From bringing women entrepreneurs directly to some of the most powerful lawmakers in the country, to meeting women entrepreneurs where they live and do business to educate them on how to bolster their businesses, WIPP was at the forefront of issues impacting women in business in 2017.

A sampling of our (many) accomplishments are highlighted below:

Educating Thousands of Women Business Owners Nationwide

  • WIPP held 12 ChallengeHER events in cities across the country, training more than 2,100 women on the best practices for success in federal contracting; including 5 match making events with federal agencies and primes.  WIPP has educated more than 10,000 attendees through its classes that range from those who are new to the process to those highly experienced. Learn more about ChallengeHER, and read about some of the success stories that have come out of the program.
  • WIPP produced 30 Give Me 5 training webinars increasing the free, on-line curriculum to approximately 120 downloadable recordings.  Reaching over 3,000 people this year, these training webinars were taught by industry specialist and federal contracting experts.
  • More than 200 women business owners joined WIPP and Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers for a discussion on venture funding and women owned small business. The discussion explored how to encourage venture capital investment in women, the process of lending for SBICs, and how women business owners can approach venture capitalists.

Impacting Policy at the Highest Levels

  • The president signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, which includes a provision directing the Small Business Administration to study small business participation on Multiple Award Contracts. The SBA study is in response to a WIPP report revealing that women small business owners are being shut out of large government contracts. Learn more about WIPP’s study.
  • WIPP surveyed 515 WIPP-affiliated women business owners nationwide on how they use the tax code and worked with American University’s Kogod Tax Policy Center to use the survey data to research how the tax code impacts women business owners. The survey data – together with Kogod’s review of existing tax research on the topic – suggests that many women-owned companies are unable to fully access more than $255 billion worth of tax incentives Congress has designed to help small businesses. The study was picked up exclusively by the Associated Press and was featured in hundreds of papers across the country. Learn more about the report in an op-ed WIPP President Jane Campbell authored in Entrepreneur magazine.
  • WIPP brought women business owners to Washington to testify at tax hearings and help inform the framework for the House Small Business agenda.
  • WIPP’s Economic Blueprint, which outlines a range of economic policy recommendations lawmakers can follow to help women entrepreneurs thrive, was featured in Forbes. Read WIPP President Jane Campbell’s op-ed outlining WIPP’s Economic Blueprint in The Hill.
  • WIPP secured powerful politicians to speak at WIPP’s annual conference so they could hear directly from women business owners on what they want out of Washington. Lawmakers included House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), House and Senate small business committee tax experts and Senate Small Business Committee leadership.
  • WIPP’s advocacy efforts throughout the tax reform debate—which included submitting comments to the Senate Finance Committee urging parity for pass through entities and repeal of the estate and AMT taxes—were instrumental in securing a pass-through carve out, along with the agreement to double the estate tax exemption from the current $5.6 million per individual to $11.2 million ($22 million for couples). WIPP members authored op-eds, letters to the editor and did interviews with reporters on the issue to ensure the women-owned business perspective was breaking through.
  • WIPP’s advocacy team worked to maintain funding for programs important to WIPP, such as the Women’s Business Centers, microloan lending programs and more.
  • WIPP submitted testimony to Congress and statements to the media urging stability of the small business health insurance marketplaces and that Congress keep in place a pooling mechanism for small businesses to buy health insurance.
  • WIPP encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to support the implementation of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring financial institutions to gather and report data on small business lending, including applications made by women and minority owners. Read our press statement and our comments to the CFPB.
  • WIPP supported the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.
  • WIPP was mentioned in more than 60 news articles in 2017, ensuring the women business owner perspective was heard throughout national debates around tax reform, the federal budget, entrepreneurship and more. We had articles in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Financial Times, The Hill newspaper, The Atlantic, the Business Journals, Reuters, the Associated Press, Morning Consult, Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune, NBC and many more.

Supporting Small Businesses on Small Business Saturday

  • 2017 saw record support from business organizations through the Small Business Saturday Coalition, the national grassroots initiative that WIPP leads to promote Small Business Saturday, with more than 575 organizations nationwide supporting small businesses on Small Business Saturday—an 18% increase over previous years.
  • Organizations WIPP engaged to support Small Business Saturday included the National Retail Federation, Association of Women’s Business Centers, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and SCORE, as did local organizations such as the Chicago Public Library, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Iowa and many, many others.
  • WIPP’s leadership around the Small Business Saturday Coalition was instrumental in promoting 7,200 events and activities celebrating Small Business Saturday nationwide, engaging more than 2.2 million small businesses.
  • The Coalition secured 653 mayoral proclamations in support of Small Business Saturday nationwide and ensure numerous public service announcements were issued promoting the day.
  • WIPP secured passage of a Senate Resolution designating Small Business Saturday and introduction of House Resolution and engaged 240 Members of Congress in Small Business Saturday activities.

ChallengeHER Success Story: Erica Courtney Draws on Military Experience to win Contracts and Helps Others do the Same

When Erica Courtney counsels women business owners about contracting with the federal government, she has a multitude of perspectives to draw upon.

During her 14 years of service in the Army, she was a buyer of goods and services from contractors. She knows first hand what federal procurement personnel are looking for when reviewing applications. And although not much has changed in the last two decades in terms of rules and regulations for contracting, Courtney has a few tricks of the trade to share now that she seeks contracts as an entrepreneur.

“It is certainly not an easy market to crack, but the bottom line is you are dealing with people, not with the government itself,” she said. “You have to be able in 30 seconds to give a solid pitch for your business that makes sense to them. What makes you different? Why should I care? And provide a total solution and best value because they want everything fulfilled.”

Courtney served on a panel at ChallengeHER in Silver Spring, Maryland in July 2017. ChallengeHER consists of all-day workshops—organized by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), American Express and the Small Business Administration—that are designed to be a one-stop-shop for connecting women-owned businesses with organizations and other resources to successfully pursue federal contracts.

At ChallengeHER events, Courtney zeroes in on women veterans in the room to make sure they understand how the skills they learned in the service can translate to competitiveness in government contracting.

“In the military, we have to essentially compete in a man’s world and it’s hard for women to transition to what it means to be a woman in the business world,” she said. “Sometimes they lose the confidence they had in the service. But I got into the corporate world after my service and later started my own businesses, so I know how to bridge the cultural military-civilian divide and enjoy helping others ‘fast track’ their careers through a little bit of tough love and peer-peer mentorship.”

Courtney joined WIPP four years ago after attending one of the organization’s meetings in Washington, D.C. She realized she had a lot to share with other women business leaders, and a lot to learn from WIPP because it stays up to date on best practices for contracting. She was highly impressed by the caliber of other WIPP leaders, and therefore has continued her involvement.

“It’s good for women to hear perspectives from people who are knuckle-grinding because they’re new to contracting, as well as women who have been doing it for 20 years,” she said. “Most of the WIPP ChallengeHer events consist of start-ups so they appreciate when the women on the panel share our joys and pitfalls of small business ownership.”

During her service as an aviator, paratrooper and senior logistical and contracting officer in the Army, she was responsible for deploying 2,400 personnel, $750 million in equipment and $200 million budgets.

“I had to procure everything from barbecues to armament,” she said. “I became pretty familiar with vendors and knew as a buyer pretty quickly if contractors knew how to do business with the government. Understanding the language is crucial.”

After leaving active duty, Courtney earned her Masters of Business Administration degree and entered the corporate environment. So many business owners started seeking her advice about how to successfully pursue government contracting that she opened her own consulting firm, which she sold after five years.

She now serves in the Army Reserves working on international women’s initiatives and is focused on running her newest business, 2020Vet, a firm with offices in Virginia and California that offers logistics optimization performing everything from acquisition, inventory management, distribution and reverse logistics. The second focus is on forensic engineering capturing data and presenting it in a clear, concise way through aviation, scientific and engineering subject matter experts and technologies. Founded in 2014, the company helps commercial and government organizations make better informed decisions in a faster, cheaper and safer way than traditional inspection, surveying or delivery means.

Courtney said she has multi-year commitments with Pacific Gas & Electric, as well as First Five California, an education agency. Now she is looking to expand into federal contracting, which is familiar territory that she helps other veterans and women business owners navigate.

“I tell them, ‘You have to build a team, demonstrate that you have the best value and know how to market yourself,’” Courtney said of the women she meets at ChallengeHER events. “You have to have an effective capability statement. My business is registered as a woman-owned and service disability veteran owned. But I tell women business owners, ‘Don’t ever lead off with that. Tell them what you can do and leave a positive impression.’”

WIPP Rings in Small Business Saturday at NASDAQ in Times Square

WIPP joined the New York City Department of Small Business Services to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ in Times Square in honor of Small Business Saturday, and received a proclamation from Mayor Bill de Blasio on behalf of the Small Business Saturday
NASDAQ2017

Holly McWhorter of PLANT Apothecary and Isabel Gunther of Little Green Gourmets joined WIPP in ringing the NASDAQ closing bell in honor of Small Business Saturday.

Coalition declaring Nov. 25 Small Business Saturday in New York City.
WIPP members joined Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, to close trading heading into the holiday shopping weekend.
“It was an honor to celebrate Small Business Saturday with Commissioner Bishop and the NYC Department of Small Business Services,” said attendee Jenn Hauser, owner of Bohaus, a small coffee and  flower shop in Brooklyn. “Most women business owners are small businesses, and Small Business Saturday is crucial to our bottom lines. Women business owners are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy and small businesses create two-thirds of our nation’s
new jobs. We hope folks remember to shop small this weekend, because when small business is strong, our economy is strong.”
Small business owners Jenn Hauser of Bohaus in Brooklyn, NY; Isabel Gunther of Little Green Gourmets in New York City; Holly McWhorter of PLANT Apothecary in Brooklyn, NY; and Dionna Dorsey of District of Clothing in Washington, D.C.
WIPP, along with American Express and partners, founded the Small Business Saturday Coalition to help engage communities across the country for Small Business Saturday. Every year, WIPP works with hundreds of organizations and thousands of small businesses across the country to promote Small Business Saturday in their communities.

ChallengeHER Stories: Chaunty Spillane wants to expand a new film production venture into government contracting

Knowing businesses struggle with building an online presence, Massachusetts-based Chaunty Spillane is embarking on a new film production venture that will help businesses stand out among competitors.

She is also looking to expand her reach to government contracting, which led her to a recent ChallengeHER event in Boston.

“I learned a lot about the different organizations that are available to help women business owners with the technicalities of qualifying and competing for contracts,” Chaunty said of her experience. “ChallengeHER helped me realize this is definitely the right path for me.”

Chaunty began working in the film industry as an actor and a model, but fell in love with production and the equipment used to make film. She recalled making movies on a camcorder as young as 6-years-old and wanting to share her skill with others.

“I love helping out people and providing artistic value to what my customers are doing,” she said. “Video marketing allows businesses to be more relatable, not only to claim their identity in a visual format.”

Since going into business for herself recently, she has done subcontract work on a government contract and wants to earn her own contracts. She plans to certify as a woman-owned business and register with the federal system, two important steps she learned about during the ChallengeHER workshop.

Sponsored by Women Impacting Public Policy, the Small Business Administration and American Express, ChallengeHER events are designed to be a one-stop-shop opportunity to gather resources and learn from the experiences of other women entrepreneurs who have successfully navigated the world of government contracting. Panelists share tricks of the trade, like how to market your business successfully through capability statements and build your reputation to earn repeat business.

“One of the things I was surprised by was everyone’s willingness to offer support,” Chaunty said. “I am realizing that I can do this, and it feels like the next level of my career.”

WIPP In the News: December 2017

WIPP officials, members and activities drew media attention on issues ranging from tax reform to Small Business Saturday. Check out the 10 media hits featuring WIPP over the last month.

The Hill: Tax Bill Isn’t Perfect But a step in the Right Direction

Forbes: Female Business Owner Feeling Set-Aside? Consider This Option

Epoch Times: Republicans Forge Ahead with Tax Reform

Fosters Daily Democrat: Small Business Saturday posts impressive numbers

Niagara Frontier: Reports: Estimated 43% of American adults shopped or dined small on Small Business Saturday

Survey: Small Business Saturday Inspires Consumers to Shop Local

The Journal News: Port Chester to make Nov. 25 Small Business Day

Market Business Insider: Nine-in-Ten U.S. Consumers Say Small Business Saturday Has Had a Positive Impact on Their Community

The Eagle: Tax reform would boost women-owned businesses

Vision Times Media: Helping women entrepreneurs get federal contracts

News You Need to Know: December 2017

Emily Murphy

Longtime WIPP friend Emily Murphy, right, was sworn in as GSA administrator this week. She’s pictured here with WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan at the ceremony.

Longtime WIPP Friend Emily Murphy Sworn in as GSA Administrator

Longtime WIPP friend Emily Murphy, was sworn in as the 41st administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) this week. Murphy’s Senate confirmation was strongly bipartisan, with leaders on both sides of the aisle praising her experience, qualifications and commitment to public service. The Senate’s unanimous consent decision came after Murphy’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where she discussed her key priorities and vision for advancing the agency. Murphy will lead a workforce of 11,600 full-time employees and oversee approximately $54 billion in annual contracts.

“I look forward to working with our partners in industry, customer agencies, and Congress so that GSA can continue to fulfill its mission of providing the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people,” Murphy said last month.

Deadline to Apply for 2018 Health Coverage Friday

The final deadline to apply for 2018 health coverage at HealthCare.gov is this Friday, Dec. 15. Visit www.HealthCare.gov now to apply. You can also find a host of nonpartisan information about health coverage costs, requirements and options on the Kaiser Family Foundation website.

Burdensome Regulations

The SBA Office of Advocacy is asking for input on burdensome regulations as part of the office’s Regulatory Reform Efforts. You may fill out the form at www.sba.gov/advocacy. You don’t have to an expert to comment. The office is seeking to engage small business owners on their everyday pain points with respect to federal com

Appropriations & Continuing Resolutions

Faced with a December 8 deadline, Congress passed a short-term continuing appropriations resolution (CR), funding the federal government through December 22. Designed to give Congressional appropriators time to negotiate funding for the balance of FY18, Congressional GOP leadership must now decide whether to negotiate an FY18 omnibus with Democrats to ensure the eight votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate. House Republicans have proposed a hybrid means of funding—a bill that would fund defense for the remainder of FY18 with the remainder of the federal government operating on a CR—which Democrats strongly oppose. The other option is to punt funding for the government into January with another short-term CR.

A major issue surrounding the decision is the level of spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act. Congressional GOP leadership wants to lift the caps and pass a $230 billion increase in defense spending over two years. Democrats also want to lift the caps, but are insisting that any increase in defense spending be matched by increased non-defense funding.

Additionally, there are two measures under consideration for inclusion in the CR legislation, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the Alexander-Murray healthcare bill which restores cost sharing subsidies for participating insurance plans. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) made her support for the tax reform bill contingent on passage of the healthcare fix.

NDAA Signed into Law

 

Joni Ernst

Sen. Joni Ernst, who along with Sen Kirsten Gillibrand sponsored legislation requiring the SBA to study small business participation in large government contracts, accepted an award during WIPP’s 2017 annual leadership meeting.

Last month, the Senate passed the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday. One of the few must-pass bills in Congress, the measure included WIPP’s top priority requiring the administrator of the SBA to conduct a study and submit a report to Congress on the utilization of small businesses (WOSBs, HUBZones, 8(a)s, and Service Disabled Veterans) with respect to Multiple Award Contracts (MACs). The effort was spearheaded by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Also included in the NDAA is the creation of Federal Online Marketplaces, similar to Amazon and Walmart, for purchases under $250,000. This would drastically change how the federal government buys its products. It should be noted that the Congress increased the micro purchase threshold from $150,000 to $250,000. These purchases are reserved for small businesses.

Tax Plan Steams Ahead

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House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas discusses tax reform during WIPP’s 2017 annual meeting.

Last week, the Senate passed tax reform (H.R. 1), setting up a conference to produce a united bill with the House. Versions passed by the Senate and the House contain significant differences which must be resolved before final passage.

Proposed business tax changes are listed below, highlighting the differences in the House and Senate version.

  • Individual Tax Rates
    • House: Four Brackets—12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%—allows an additional rate for higher income earners
    • Senate: Seven Bracket—10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 38.5%
  • Pass-Through Treatment
    • House: tax rate for qualified business income 25%. Only 30% of business income is eligible for this rate. Personal services companies are not eligible for this rate.
    • Senate: Deduction allows for 23% of qualifying business income, up to $250,000 for single filers or $500,000 for joint filers (expires after 2025)
  • Corporate Tax Rate
    • House: Permanent reduction to 20% (effective 2018)
    • Senate: Permanent reduction to 20% (effective 2019)
  • State and Local Taxes (SALT)
    • House: Preserves property tax deduction of as much as $10,000
    • Senate: Preserves property deduction up to $10,000 (expires after 2025)
  • Estate Tax
    • House: Doubles the exemption to $11 million for single tax payers and $22 million for married tax payers (repeals in 2025)
    • Senate: Doubles the exemption to $11 million for single tax payers and $22 million for married tax payers through 2025 (no repeal)
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
    • House: Repeals the AMT for individual and corporate filers
    • Senate: Retains the AMT for individual and corporate filers and raises the individual threshold
  • Healthcare Mandate
    • House: Maintains the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance
    • Senate: Repeals the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance

A Senate and House conference has met to come up with a single bill to send to the president. Republican leaders in the Congress hope to vote on the conference version next week.

 

Letter from WIPP President Jane Campbell: December 2017

Winter is here and the weather is chilly, but things are boiling over in Washington. Congress is running full-tilt to try to complete a herculean amount of work before year’s end. In this newsletter, we cover developments in taxes, the National Defense Authorization Act, the deadline to sign up for health coverage and a looming deadline to appropriate  funds for the 2018 budget.

Jane Campbell photo 2 2

WIPP President Jane Campbel

We saw record support in 2017 from business organizations, with more than 575 organizations nationwide supporting small businesses on Small Business Saturday—an 18 percent increase over previous years.

WIPP, in conjunction with American Express, founded the Small Business Saturday Coalition in 2011. This year, 7,200 events and activities celebrating Small Business Saturday were held nationwide, engaging more than 2.2 million small businesses.

Every year, WIPP is proud to work with public officials at all levels of government and hundreds of organizations and thousands of small businesses to encourage all Americans to “shop small” at local businesses and “dine small” at local bars and restaurants.

As you do your last-minute shopping, consider going to a small business to get it done.

Happy Holidays!