Small Things Come In Big Packages

AnnSullivan new

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.

 

WIPP Testifies to Congress on Challenges Facing Small Contractors

Anne Crossman

The House Small Business Committee hearing last week focused on one of WIPP’s key priorities: ongoing issues affecting small companies trying to do work with the federal government. Anne Crossman, a member of WIPP’s Leadership Advisory Council, used her expertise in subcontracting to testify before the Committee regarding the challenges faced by small subcontractors.

 

In particular, many WIPP members have questioned to what extent subcontracting plans are enforced. WIPP has long advocated for a policy of “if you list us, use us” and it is still unclear if prime contractors are being held to these plans.

 

Subcontracting is a staple of many small contractors and facilitates the flow of federal contract dollars into small businesses, which provide jobs and boosts local economies. Agencies have subcontracting goals to ensure that small firms get a fair shot at contracting dollars.

 

The Committee delved into these and many other challenges facing small subcontractors. The hearing can be found in full here.

June 2015 WIPP National Partner of the Month

Ann Rama

Anjali “Ann” Ramakumaran

Founder and CEO of Ampcus Inc

Website Address- www.ampcus.com

Company was founded – 2004

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

Tell us a little about your company and its mission.

  • Ampcus is a Business and a Technology consulting and a staff augmentation company headquartered in Chantilly VA 25 miles West of Washington DC. For a decade we have been supporting various fortune 1000 corporations and federal agencies on various mission critical projects of theirs.
  • Our mission is todevelop and deliver innovative  and effective workforce solutions that make a difference in the life of our customers and employees.

Ampcus is one of the very few women and minority owned company who has all the process certifications required in this field. Ampcus is an ISO 9001:2008; ISO 27001:2005; ISO 20000:2005; and SEI CMMi Level 3 certified Company. Ampcus has been growing at a rate of 40% and maintain high employee retention of over 94%.

Have you always been an entrepreneur?  If not, what, or who, inspired you to take this leap? I think Entrepreneurship is imbedded in me. I did work with a small women owned business and as an employee I would work as though it was my own company. I was also recognized by my employer for that.

How are you engaged in your community (or state or national scene) in philanthropic or political causes? 

Philanthropic activities:

  • Contributions to American Cancer Society
  • Contributions made for pediatric cancer research
  • Providing Scholarship to Underprivileged student through USPAACC Education foundation for college education
  • Supporting various non profit organizations like WBENC, WPEO, USPAACC , CRMSDC( Co-chairs and Presenting Sponsors) and sponsoring various events of theirs to promote other Women owned business , small business and minority owned business.

Boards/Leadership Committee:

  • Advisory Board Member- MBE Advisor MBN USA
  • Brain trust and Leadership Committee Member- USPAACC

What value/resources has WIPP brought you (training or education, member or political connections/access, awareness of policies that affect your business and its growth, etc.) that have been helpful to you? WIPP has helped us a lot as we get access to lot of training material, get access to political members, webinars have always helped us.

Ann’s Bio

Ann is the Founder and CEO of Ampcus Inc, a technology savvy entrepreneur with more than 10 years of contribution towards the design and development of software services and delivery of Information Technology services. Under her leadership she has grown Ampcus Inc into a fast growing consulting and professional services firm.

She has been awarded as the top Asian American owned businesses by USPAACC for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and 50 fastest growing women owned businesses in the CONUS by the Women Presidents Organization for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, 2015. Ampcus Inc made the Inc500/5000 list for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Ampcus Inc has also been recognized as the Top diversity business for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

She has helped fortune 2000 companies with their enterprise-wide customized solutions. She reports to the board and drives the company to attain its vision of being one of the largest Professional services companies globally. She has been involved in executing a consultative methodology to define, qualify, and quantify the clients’ targeted and strategic IT and business objectives and from this developed solutions to proactively address current and evolving needs and projects.

In 2014 Ann was awarded Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the year by Women in Technology and in 2015 Ampcus was awarded the growth award by Astra WBENC. They were also awarded Washington Technology Fast 50.

Ann holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business and commercial management from India. She has also completed an executive management program from Robins School of Business, University of Richmond.