Every year, the federal government spends roughly $400 to $500 billion on large and small contracts for goods and services, with a goal of allocating 23 percent of these contracts to small businesses. Even if your business isn’t in an industry that screams “government necessity,” you’d be surprised by who can qualify—there’s a contracting need for just about everything.
Then, there’s the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program that was implemented in 2011 with the goal of expanding the number of industries where WOSB were able to compete for the federal government’s business. This program enables Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) to compete for contracts that are set-aside for EDWOSBs in industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented. It also allows set-asides for WOSBs in industries where women-owned small businesses are substantially underrepresented.
There’s no denying that “playing” in this business arena can be tricky. I hear it all the time from our NAWBO members who are either just beginning to dabble in it or who have been going after these often-lucrative contracts for years. In fact, one of our members launched her business with a partner she had worked with in a consulting firm’s government division. The pair saw a need for a consulting firm that exclusively focused on helping small businesses compete for government contracts. Some years later, the partners decided to go to work for the government themselves, helping to manage government acquisitions, contracts and projects. The move proved positive and helped the company to grow tremendously in both size and reach.
There are so many NAWBO member success stories out there, as there are resources to help all our members who are interested in government contracting. If you joined me at the National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO in Minneapolis, you heard Linda McMahon, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, speak about all that her organization has to offer women and small business owners. Help in securing government contracts is among these resources. In fact, the SBA’s Office of Government Contracting works to create an environment for maximum participation by small, disadvantaged and woman-owned businesses in federal government contract awards and large prime subcontract awards. It also advocates on behalf of small business in the federal procurement world. In this issue of NAWBO ONE, you can read about Linda and the value the SBA brings. Also, in this issue, we offer how-to tips for competing for government contracts.
The U.S. government is the world’s largest customer, representing a tremendous sales and revenue opportunity for NAWBO members and all women and small business owners. Here’s to you getting your share!
—Kathy Warnick, 2017-2018 NAWBO National Board Chair