As you probably know by now, in February 2011, the federal government enacted the Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program. Despite the fact that women have always been able to do business with the government, and the government has a goal to spend 5% with woman-owned businesses, historically only about 3.5% of the almost $500 billion in federal spending has been with woman-owned small businesses. But now, with the new WOSB Contracting Program, contracting officers can set aside contract opportunities specifically for woman-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged woman-owned small businesses (EDWOSB).
This is great news, and last month, the Women Business Development Center (WBDC) hit the road and presented dynamic workshop events in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago about the WOSB Contracting Program and strategies for leveraging the program to get government and corporate contracts.
These events were valuable and timely for two reasons:
- The federal government is in its fourth quarter, and agencies are required to spend their budgets before September 30, 2011. Many agencies are setting aside opportunities for women to assist them in meeting the 5% goal, with the extra benefits of streamlining the competitive pool and minimizing the timeline to meet the September 30 deadline.
- On September 14, 2011, the WBDC will hold its 25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, where the Women’s Business & Buyers Mart will feature representatives from corporations and government agencies interested in purchasing from women-owned businesses. Business owners who are armed with the strategies and tools presented at the WBDC pre-conference events can present their businesses in a way that enhances their perceived benefits to these government and corporate representatives.
Here are some of the key strategies and actions needed in order to take advantage of the new WOSB Contracting Program that were discussed at the recent workshops.
Answer these key questions to build your contracting strategy:
- What is your business strategy? Are you a prime contractor? Sub-contractor? Teaming partner?
- Are you crystal clear on your target’s needs and the solutions you provide?
- Can you present your value proposition clearly, succinctly and with a solutions-provided focus?
- Do you have a capability statement? A capability statement is a one page document that identifies your core competencies, past performance and differentiators. You’ll want to create a targeted capability statement once you’ve identified your target organization. Click here for a capability statement template.
- Do you understand your target’s procurement process?
- Do you know who the decision makers are? Contact the decision maker via email to request a Capability Briefing and include your capability statement as a PDF. Follow-up via phone.
Find opportunities for your business:
To search the Federal Business Opportunities website to see what contracts have currently been set aside for WOSBs and EDWOSBs:
- Visit http://www.fbo.gov and click on “Opportunities” on the top of the page
- On the Opportunities page, click on the “Advanced Search” tab, and under Set-Aside Code, check the boxes for “Woman Owned Small Business” and “Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business”
- You can then further limit the search by selecting NAICS and Classification codes specific to your business
- Click “Search” to review list of opportunities
The WOSB Contracting Program is in place…now it’s up to you to take advantage of it! For more information, contact the WBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center.