As I learn more about how women can tap into government contracting, I notice that more and more is being done nationwide to help women enter this space. PACE Women’s Business Center (WBC), one of the SBA’s 110 WBCs in the country, is now helping LA women entrepreneurs access the resources and assistance they need in order to win federal government contracts.
In April of this year, PACE WBC was one of 110 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) from across the country that gathered in Washington, D.C. for training on the Give Me 5 curriculum provided by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Launched in 2008 by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express OPEN, the Give Me 5 program curriculum aims to educate women business owners and increase the number of government contracts awarded to women. Following a two-day training session in the nation’s capital, women business owners in the Los Angeles area can now take advantage of the program’s teachings to access and win federal contracts.
The U.S. government is the largest consumer of products and services in the world, spending in excess of $500 billion annually. Of this, women business owners receive just 3.4% (or $13 billion) of the contracts awarded by the federal government, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Women-owned businesses stand to gain millions of dollars by doing business with the government and with the Give Me 5 program, we are now equipped to teach them how so they can grow and in turn help our local economy,” said Jackie Jones, Director of PACE WBC.
Sessions in which local women business owners can take part in include:
· Introduction to Federal Contracting: An introductory course providing an overview of the tremendous opportunity for women business owners to expand their business through federal contracts and a guide to Central Contractor Registration (CCR) – including how to update/renew information once registered. Learn ways to research what the government is buying, when they are buying and who buys the most.
· The People and the Process: Top level guide on what business owners should be doing after they complete their registration on the Central Contractor Registration and how to work effectively with the Federal Agencies’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. Participants will be given a review of the CCR record, SBA profile, the Small Business Dynamic Search Process, an overview of how the federal government buys products and services, an understanding of what prime and subcontracts are and which best fits their business.
· Using Research Tools to Build a Successful Strategy: Requests For Information (RFIs) and Sources Sought Notices are being used more often as part of the mandated Market Research process. These processes are used to identify businesses capable of doing specific work before the opportunity is formally advertised, and also to determine if a small business may be capable – with a set-aside or even sole source contract as a possible result. In this session, women business owners will learn the purpose of these notices, the value of responding, how to respond, how to position their firm before and after responding and what the next steps are after responding.
· GSA Schedules, Size Standards and Other Tips and Strategies: An in-depth guide to GSA Schedules and the way the Government spends. Participants will learn what it is, why they should be on the schedule, the fine print and details they should know, as well as expectations and time frames.
Through a series of events, one-on-one mentorships and a comprehensive online training curriculum, the Give Me 5 program has educated more than 250,000 women on federal contracting opportunities and helped more than 24,000 women business owners take the important first step to working with the federal government – getting their businesses on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the primary vendor database for the federal government.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam. The agency plays a significant role in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, deploying credit tools provided under the law that have resulted in more than $27.5 billion in small business loans since the Act was passed in February 2009.
Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community development corporation, founded in 1976. Over the past 34 years PACE has provided assistance to more than 600,000 low-income, ethnic minority residents of Los Angeles area. PACE tackles an array of problems and challenges that speak to the quality of life of low income, minority, and immigrant people throughout the region and offers a variety of important services to ensure families in need of tools and opportunities enable them to become economically sufficient. Today, its scope of services includes workforce development, business development, financial education and asset building, environmental services, early childhood education and housing services. PACE’s Women’s Business Center was started in 2006 and provides a comprehensive array of services designed to assist women to start and expand their enterprises.