Originally posted on July 2, 2015 at WomenInBiz Blog
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) is happy to provide women business owners with the guidance to better compete for Federal Contracts under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program. In order to educate and get women business owners together with federal buyers, ChallengeHER programs are being held in several cities and states throughout 2015. There have already been 3 events held – in Washington D.C., New York City, and Dallas and many more in the upcoming months. I’d like to share some highlights with you, as we have had many great hosts and speakers with outstanding presentations.
For those of you, who are not familiar with the program, here is some basic information:
ChallengeHER, an initiative from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), WIPP, and American Express OPEN (OPEN), is designed to strengthen and promote the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program. ChallengeHER offers women business owners important information to established and new businesses on working with the federal government. Further, these events enable more women business owners to take advantage of contracting opportunities so they can boost their businesses and help propel the success of the WOSB Procurement Program.
The agenda of the ChallengeHER events is structured to provide women around all the United States the most important, standardized knowledge and guidance in federal marketplace. In ChallengeHER, WOSB federal contractors have a unique opportunity to:
- Learn about the WOSB set aside program and how to market their business using this set aside.
- Learn from experiences of successful WOSBs working as federal contractors.
- Learn from federal buyers how to do business with their agency in Contracting Officers Panel.
- Network with peer mentors and other WOSB and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) firms.
In addition, each event is filled with different speakers and moderators with substantial insights and specific topics.
Washington D.C. hosted by SBA
The first event this year was held in Washington, D.C. on May 11 at the SBA Headquarters. We kicked off with WOSB Strategic Research and Marketing presented by Sean Crean from the SBA. A panel of successful women entrepreneurs shared their experiences and a panel of contracting officers provided insight on planning for federal contracting, underlining the core mission of ChallengeHER – to share and educate women in federal procurement business.
New York City filled with extraordinary speakers
After Washington, we moved to New York City where we had the great pleasure to listen to an armchair discussion between The Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U. S. Small Business Administration and Denise Pickett, President, American Express OPEN, on Fueling the Small Business Economy and Growing Women-Owned Small Business. The discussion was very informative and we learned many new facts regarding the WOSB program and about other SBA initiatives including guarantees for loans to small business owners and thus eliminating some of the risk to the lending partners under Guaranteed Loan Programs (Debt Financing).
Another highlight in NYC was one-to-one matchmaking sessions between Federal Buyers and Contractors, where on top of the panel discussions, women entrepreneurs had a unique opportunity to directly discuss their business proposals with federal contracting officers.
Dallas Q&A Storm
Just a week later, we headed to stormy Dallas for a special ChallengeHER with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite the severe weather forecasts the event day was bright and sunny and well attended! The Dallas audience was very interactive and we had more than 4 hours of sessions filled with questions and active discussions with the speakers and panelists.
We have had a great start to this year’s ChallengeHER “tour” and more summer events will be announced shortly! August will be particularly busy and we can’t wait to meet new women entrepreneurs and help them get new insights for enhancing their businesses.
Stay tuned for upcoming events and visit our website for more information and announcements.