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ChallengeHER: Creating Procurement Access and Opportunity for Women-Owned Small Businesses

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ChallengeHER: Creating Procurement Access and Opportunity for Women-Owned Small Businesses

By Marie Johns, Former Deputy Administrator
Published: April 23, 2013 Updated: April 23, 2013

 

Federal contracting with small businesses is a win-win.  Every year, the U.S. government awards nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses, allowing these businesses to grow their revenues and create jobs right here at home.  Meanwhile, the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the United States.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, the federal government awarded $286.3 billion in federal contract dollars to small businesses—a $32 billion increase over the three preceding years, even as contracting spending overall has declined across the federal government. 

Across the board, the Obama Administration and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are committed to providing access and removing barriers for small, minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses by changing the process and the culture surrounding federal contracting.

We’re proud of our achievements so far in implementing the Woman Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program and we are making strides in bringing more women-owned firms into the federal government’s supply chain.

Today, I had the opportunity to announce our latest efforts to engage women-owned small businesses in the federal procurement process at the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Opportunity Forum Luncheon presented by SBA, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and American Express OPEN, here in Washington, D.C.

The ChallengeHER Campaign is an exciting new initiative that leverages the resources of SBA, WIPP, and American Express OPEN to promote the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program and bring more women-owned firms into the federal government’s supply chain.

In the coming months, we’ll be hosting ChallengeHER events across the country to help women business owners better understand the procurement opportunities available from the federal government, including events in:

  • Phoenix, AZ;
  • Seattle, WA;
  • New Orleans, LA;
  • Denver, CO;
  • Atlanta, GA;
  • San Francisco, CA; and,
  • New York, NY.

At these events, we’ll also be playing “matchmaker”—connecting women-owned small businesses with the decision-makers and contract opportunities housed by our federal partners, both at the national level and in their local communities.  And by increasing our family of women-owned small businesses, government contracting officers will have a broader base to consider when making their purchasing decisions.

We’ll also be training women-owned small businesses on how to register in our System for Award Management, which serves as our government contracting portal for all small business owners that want to do business with the federal government, and learn about eligibility requirements for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, which allows contract set asides for women-owned small businesses in certain industries.

A robust supply chain of innovative small businesses makes our country more globally competitive, encourages more corporations to bring production back to the U.S., and helps create jobs here at home. Our goal, and the goal of the ChallengeHER Campaign, is to ensure that women-owned small businesses across the country have the access and opportunity they need to succeed.

 Stay tuned for further information on the ChallengeHER Campaign and events near you.

About the Author:

Marie Johns

Former Deputy Administrator

Marie Johns is a former Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Comments:

  Businesses owned and operated by men are potentially eligible for HUBZone certification, participation in the 8(a) Business Development Program, and can self-certify as Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses, as the status applies. The ChallengeHer Campaign specifically to promote the Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. This program was launched due to a study of women’s role in the federal supply chain, and is geared toward 83 industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.
@hqtywil As it relates to African American women my sentiment exactly!
Hello. I would love to see this initiative in San Antonio, TX as well. Thank you.
I am certainly interested in this venture. I would like to know if this event will also be in Mobile, AL
This sounds like a wonderful opportunity! I'd like to know when this event will be in the Bay Area/San Francisco/Oakland area so I may attend.
ChallengeHER sounds like a great networking opportunity. I'd like to participate. Are there any plans to hold events in the Midwest? Our office is located in WI. I was surprised that Chicago, IL was not included in the list for ChallengeHER venues.
  These cities were selected based on research of the SBA, American Express OPEN, and WIPP for an initial wave of events. Additional cities may be identified for events, and we will also be hosting some online events.
Please do let us know when this event comes to Philadelphia
Please provide info for the event in New Orleans. If available, an agenda, dates, preferred hotel and event location would be great. Thanks in advance.
We are expecting to finalize the event dates and announce them later this month.

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