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News Roundup

Government Contracting Series for Women-Owned Businesses

womansuitdiversityOften considered the backbone of the U.S. economy, small businesses play a vital role in boosting nationwide employment and keep dollars flowing through the economy. But entrepreneurs are missing the boat when it comes to boosting revenue through government contracts, especially since President Barack Obama signed his economic recovery plan.

Small business owners have so far only received 10.3% of money funneled to state and local governments though the stimulus plan, far short of the 23% of federal contracting dollars the government mandates to be awarded to small businesses, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Overall, women-owned businesses are not stepping up either when it comes to attaining federal dollars, having secured only 3.4% of the federally mandated 5% of contract dollars set aside.

In an attempt to increase those statistics, Give Me 5, an education and mentoring program designed to help women business owners get involved in the federal contract system, and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) will host two webinars on securing contracts on June 23 and 25.

“Public-sector federal contracting [is] a huge opportunity, [but it] is a big complex thing,” says Barbara Kasoff, president of WIPP. “We wanted to make it as easy and smooth as possible and really raise the odds for women business owners to be successful.”

The Webinars will focus on how to become registered as a socially or economically disadvantaged business — or 8(a) certification — and detail how the Department of Health and other government agencies reach out to women-owned businesses.

Webinars scheduled for June 23 and 25 are available free to Give Me 5 members, and the annual membership fee is $100. The organization also hosts free webinars for non-members throughout the year.

Give Me 5 was launched in 2008 by WIPP and American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express.

–Renita Burns