WIPP Works in Washington – September 2018

Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate

See You In September

Something happens to Washington in September. The lazy hazy days of summer disappear, and the most beautiful weather arrives. The stifling heat gives way to cool days and turning leaves. And the pace really picks up. The traffic becomes impossible and days are packed with meetings and events as Washington kicks back into high gear. Given that the end of the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30, federal contractors are on high alert as the government tries to spend the remainder of its fiscal year money.

Speaking of government funding, the Congress will be back in full swing, trying to pass its FY19 spending bills before October 1. To date, no appropriations bill for FY19 has been signed by the President, although the House has passed six spending bills and the Senate has passed nine. Now the job of reconciling the differences begins. Republicans would love to show voters in November that a perk of having the party control both the House and Senate is the ability to get the fiscal year funded in a timely manner.

Another big push in September is the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Nominated by President Trump, the Senate must approve the nomination by a majority vote. Given the two-seat majority in the Senate, Republicans cannot afford to lose any of their party’s votes to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh.

This year, the legislative schedule will be shortened by the upcoming elections in November. It is customary for the Congress to recess for most of October in order to spend their time in their home states/districts campaigning. Then traditionally, the Congress calls a “lame duck” session in November/December to complete any unfinished business.

This election season is shaping up to be an exciting one, with women running in unprecedented numbers. Arizona will have its first female Senator—both primary winners were women. To date, 26 women are still in the running for the U.S. Senate, 251 for House seats and 18 for Governor. While many women did not win their primaries, this election upended the notion that party bosses have to bless candidates who run for Congressional seats and incumbents are unbeatable. Women in 2018 challenged both of those political adages.

This September starts with remembering the life of Senator John McCain who will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda—one of only 13 Senators to have received this honor. His life and patriotism will be remembered by all walks of life – no matter the political party. The Senator so wisely said, “Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”

Want to know more about our fall focus? WIPP members are invited to join us for our monthly WIPP Policy Briefing on September 12 at 2 PM EDT. Not a member? Join today!

5 Ways To Be An Active WIPP Member/Friend

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We wouldn’t be where we are without you, your participation is important to us! Whether you are a WIPP member or not there is a way for you to participate. Here are 5 ways you can get started:

  1. Follow WIPP online. Stay up to date by following one of our social media channels.

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

Twitter: @WIPPWeDecide

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1808377

Blog: http://WomenInBizBlog.org

  1. Participate in WE Decide 2016 polls. Who knows better than you how policy affects your businesses and your families? As an important voting bloc, women need to be the voice of reason. Now you can make a difference. You can have your voice heard through We Decide 2016.  Learn more about WE Decide 2016 and take the latest quick poll: http://wedecide2016.org/get-involved/todays-quick-poll/
  1. Go to a ChallengeHER event. These events are designed to assist you in competing for government contracts by reducing the competition utilizing the WOSB Set Aside Program. The ChallengeHER events have sessions for those who are just beginning the process of becoming a federal contractor, and for those who have federal experience but looking for higher level content. Read more about the program and register for an event near you: http://www.wipp.org/?ChallengeHER
  1. Become a WIPP Member. WIPP has a wide range of membership levels and benefits. Check them out here and join today: http://bit.ly/1EpjHDm
  1. Join a WIPP Issue Committee. Already a WIPP member but want to do more? Join one of our Issue Committees and be the first to hear about policy issues affecting your business: http://bit.ly/1L8YNxm

 

Rethink Red Tape with WIPP and Women Entrepreneurs

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Earlier this week, WIPP partnered with the National Association of Manufacturers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and International Franchise Association to launch a project advocating regulatory reform called Rethink Red Tape.

Nearly 10 million businesses across the United States are owned by women. These businesses employ eight million workers and drive $1.2 trillion in sales. With women-owned businesses growing at a rate one and a half times that of other small businesses, women entrepreneurs play a critical role in our economy and our laws need to support their ability to sustain and grow their businesses.

Unfortunately, regulations are getting in the way. Too many of today’s regulations are duplicative, inefficient and the result of a process that listens least to the people it burdens most. Government rules directly impact the ability of businesses to pay wages, create jobs and grow. In fact, America’s smallest businesses pay more per employee to comply with regulations than medium and large companies. And since they lack the money and manpower to absorb higher compliance costs, the impact of these regulations can mean the choice between cutting staff, scaling back operations and even shutting off the lights.

But there is a solution: Making sure small business owners have a seat at the rulemaking table.

In partnering with Rethink Red Tape, we at WIPP are calling for smarter regulations and a more transparent regulatory process—one that will hold policymakers accountable to produce better, fairer rules. We want to have confidence that the rules government creates are thoroughly vetted, the products of careful cost benefit analyses and impartial science. We are advocating for elected officials from both parties to prioritize regulatory reform as a win-win for everyone.

The first step in making this happen is to make sure your voice is part of the national dialog about regulatory reform.

Hearing from small business owners, particularly women small business owners, will help bring to life the very real impact of federal regulations. Rethink Red Tape will use your stories to put a face and a name to those paying the price for our country’s broken regulatory process. Our perspectives and unique experiences as women entrepreneurs can drive reform forward in a substantive way.

Take a look at the principles guiding our effort, and consider joining us at www.RethinkRedTape.com, Facebook and Twitter.

But Wait – There’s More

 

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By Ann Sullivan, WIPP’s Chief Advocate

The first quarter of 2016 was big for us. The Federal Government met its goal of awarding 5% of all contracts – $17.8 billion – to women-owned firms. This was only possible because of the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) procurement program which allows contracting officers to set aside contracts for women only to bid on.

In February, the FAR Council added sole source authority to the program. Now, contracting officers can use the program to award sole source contracts to women-owned businesses that are uniquely qualified to perform the work the government needs. All of the other small business procurement programs have sole source authority, so it was important to bring parity to the WOSB program.

In March, the WOSB program was expanded to include 113 industry codes. The same law that added sole source authority also called for SBA to update a study on participation in federal contracting by women-owned businesses. The last study was done in 2007. The new study found more industries where women are underrepresented and now those industries are part of the WOSB program – an expansion that will provide additional procurement opportunities.

While we have been making gains on that front, there is much more to do to open doors to federal agency contracts for women-owned companies. Never content to rest on our laurels, the WIPP policy team in Washington, DC is ready to tackle two new procurement issues.

First, we must increase access for women-owned firms to multiple-award contracts. The government increasingly buys its products/services through these ongoing contracts, like Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts, and other large contracts. Often, these contracts select vendors through an initial competitive process and then issue task orders to that group of vendors only. Some multiple-award contracts have a “track” for large businesses and a “track” for small businesses. Others, though, have different tracks within the small business track. For example, they may have a HUBZone track, an 8(a) track and a veteran’s track. In those instances, WOSBs should also have their own track. We will be asking for parity in these cases.

Second, there should be parity in sole source contract ceilings. Sole source contracts are capped – they are not unlimited. Every five years, the FAR Council adjusts the cap for inflation. In October, all the other small business programs’ caps were increased. The HUBZone program, for example, now has sole source awards capped at $4 million for most products/services and $7 million for manufacturing. Women did not get an increase — our manufacturing cap is a half a million less at $6.5 million. Again, the theme is parity. We will be pressing the FAR Council to adjust the WOSB sole source to match the increases of other programs.

WIPP’s advocacy is always in motion and in the federal contracting space, there is always much more to be done. So, join us in the effort. When talking to federal agencies or elected officials, echo our two asks. Everyone’s voice is important.

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/

Access to Angel Investors Just Got Easier

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

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Seeking to clear up a gray area triggering securities registration, the House of Representatives passed The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act pushed by Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Pitch events or demo days are common methods for business owners to showcase their companies and products to a room full of investors. Right now, there is confusion about whether these events are allowed because the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules prohibit “general solicitations.” The HALOS Act would clarify that pitch events hosted by angel investors are not general solicitations and do not require securities registration – a complex and expensive process for both angel investors and companies seeking investment.

Angel investment is particularly important for women-owned businesses. Recent data indicates that one in four angel-backed companies are led by women. The number of women-led companies receiving angel investments has increased by 234% in just the last decade. Since women-owned businesses receive only 4% of conventional small business loan dollars, it is vital to cultivate other sources of capital.

This bill will now move onto the Senate for consideration. WIPP will continue to engage Members of Congress on access to capital issues. An additional recommendation in WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, urges Congress to incentivize angel investments with tax credits.

 

 

New OPEN Report Says Women-Owned Businesses Growing at Highest Pace Since the Recession

Earlier today, American Express OPEN released the Sixth Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report and the results are proof of the women-owned business community’s ability to power through adversity.  Some highlights of the report, which is based on historical and current U.S. Census Bureau data and Gross Domestic Product data, are:

  • Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms rose by 42% with women starting 1,072 (net) new businesses per day.
  • Women-owned firms now number 11.3 million, employ nearly 9 million people and are generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.
  • Over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate five times faster than the national average, reaching a post-recession high
  • Number of Firms Owned by Women of Color More Than Doubled Over Past Nine Years

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“We are pleased to see the continued rise of the vital role that women-owned businesses play in our country’s post-recession recovery,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express Global Commercial Payments. “We are inspired by these women who are continuing to pursue their entrepreneurial passions, and are strengthening our communities and economy even further.”

“Every day, 1,000+ women choose the path of entrepreneurship.  This report captures the optimism of our members who contribute mightily to the economy by starting and building their businesses—especially women of color,” said Ann Sullivan, Chief Advocate for Women Impacting Public Policy.

 

Industry trends

As we emerge from the recession, women are turning to traditional industries such as lifestyle and services companies. Between 2007 and 2016, the following four industries had the biggest increase in women-owned firms:

  • other services (e.g. home care to hair and nail salons and pet care businesses), up 98%;
  • administrative, support and waste management services (including janitorial and landscaping businesses as well as office administrative support and travel agencies), up 64%;
  • accommodation and food services, up 62%;
  • and construction, up 56%.

 

View the full 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report, here.

The report was prepared for American Express OPEN by Womenable, a research, program and policy development consultancy, who is also a valued WIPP Coalition Partner.

Entrepreneurs Win at House Small Business Committee Markup

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

32cc090e-78c0-46b6-8130-e810a45a4029WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, continues to gain traction in Congress as two more priorities cleared the House Small Business Committee during this morning’s markup. The Commercializing on Small Business Innovation Act provides much needed improvements to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs provide funding for small businesses to innovate through research and development partnerships with federal agencies. WIPP’s platform advocates for a public-private partnership to accelerate the commercialization of technologies developed through the SBIR & STTR programs and the bill passed today does just that. The Commercialization Assistance Pilot Program will allow small businesses to receive additional funding to assist entrepreneurs with bringing their products to market after completing the program.

Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are an invaluable resource for the 10 million women entrepreneurs in the country who annually contribute $1.4 trillion to the nation’s economy. Legislation to reauthorize this program, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015, was cleared by the Senate Committee on Small Business last fall and now the House Committee has followed suit. The Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act of 2016 provides much needed updates to the WBC program including expanding annual authorized funding to $21.75 million and increasing the grants available to centers that provide training and counseling to entrepreneurs.

We would like to thank Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) for prioritizing women entrepreneurs and passing both pieces legislation with bipartisan, unanimous votes.

 

 

 

Join Me and Other Women Entrepreneurs this Election Season! #WEDecide2016

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Dear WIPP Members and Friends,   

BK headshotWomen business owners are 10 million strong. When we engage in the political process with a positive message there is no stopping us!

WE Decide 2016 is mobilizing thousands of women in business to raise their voice and share their message this election season.  It is a wonderful opportunity to learn and to share our views on issues important to us with the candidates and the media.

So please, sign up today and encourage your friends and employees to join you. To immediately get involved you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for WE Decide 2016 online. Below are the links to make an immediate impact –and it will only take 5 minutes of your time!

Sign up for WE Decide 2016.

Like WE Decide 2016 on Facebook.

Follow WE Decide 2016 on Twitter.

We also encourage you to spread the word in your networks, click here to view the most recent weekly partner and supporter newsletter. This newsletter provides links to logos, pictures for social media, sample social media, the topic for the weekly #WEDecideChat on Twitter, content for your website, and the most recent poll or survey. If you would like to sign your organization up as a supporter, please click here or email Lynn Bunim at lbunim@wipp.org.

Thank you again for your support – we couldn’t do all we do without you!

Sincerely,

BK single

Barbara Kasoff
WIPP President Emeritus
bkasoff@wipp.org

Venture Capital Pool Opens for Women Entrepreneurs

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

VCIf you are an entrepreneur seeking capital, the path to venture funding could be getting a little easier. Earlier this month, the House Financial Services Committee took action on two bills that make venture investments more attainable for entrepreneurs – The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act and the Main Street Growth Act. As women entrepreneurs only receive 7% of venture dollars, improving access to venture capital is a top priority in the women’s business community.

Due to ambiguities in the law, pitch events or demo days that are sponsored by angel investors may or may not be legal. Yet, these events are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get themselves – and their products – in front of a room full of potential investors. The HALOS Act makes this easier by clarifying this ambiguity. Currently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prohibits “general advertising” and “general solicitation,” but the HALOS act would clarify that these events are permitted for groups of angel investors and not subject to the prohibition on general solicitations. The bill’s sponsor, House Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), remarked, “clarifying the law to give entrepreneurs and investors more certainty and opportunity is a step in the right direction.”

To further incentivize investment, The Main Street Growth Act (H.R. 4638) will create securities exchanges specifically for venture capital investments. Existing stock exchanges could create a new tier to specialize in venture capital investments or entirely new exchanges could be established. These securities exchanges will bring together buyers and sellers of venture capital and create a more liquid market, which will incentivize investors to support startups.

While no single policy change or piece of legislation will break down the barriers that prevent women entrepreneurs from accessing capital, these incremental improvements show that Congress is committed to leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs. WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, continues to gain traction with legislators and WIPP is dedicated to growing women entrepreneurs’ share of venture capital funding.