Winning Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Marketing to Corporations

CWBR -- Women entrepreneurs now have a one-stop resource guide to help them be successful in one of the nation's largest business markets, corporate America. Methods that Work for Creating Corporate Clients, A Resource Guide for Women Business Owners, was prepared by the Center for Women's Business Research and underwritten by the PepsiCo Foundation to provide knowledge, tools and best practices to help women business owners successfully navigate the challenges of corporate markets.

The resource guide is the outcome of the study Access to Markets: Perspectives from Large Corporations and Women's Business Enterprises by the Center for Women Business Research released earlier this year.

"On average, nearly half (48%) of the revenues of the women's business enterprises surveyed came from large corporations," said Myra M. Hart, Chair, Center for Women's Business Research and Professor, Harvard Business School. "Gaining access to this market has a very positive impact on the bottom line. The resource guide distills the findings of our comprehensive study into research-based intelligence that individual women business owners can use to be successful in this lucrative market."

"PepsiCo is committed to ensuring that women's business enterprises have every opportunity to participate in corporate markets," said Bob Gonzalez, vice president of supplier diversity, PepsiCo. "We are so pleased to participate in a project which helps further this commitment, and we recognize the contributions that women-owned firms make to supplying quality products and services at a good price."

The guide has five success strategies that serve as a roadmap for women entrepreneurs to gain access to corporate markets. Along with the core strategies, the guide gives real-life examples of women business owners who have successfully marketed to corporations. It also gives women entrepreneurs the overall trends in corporate purchasing as well as step-by-step guidance on how and where to become "certified" as a women's business enterprise, and a list of useful Web sites, organizations and publications that can help create corporate clients.

GSA closes loophole to the benefit of small business

GSA's FAR Deviation Closes Small Business Contracting Loophole Policy to Require Size, Status Certification Before Option Periods Are Exercised

WASHINGTON, DC - Businesses holding government contracts will soon be required to certify their size and status each time an option period is exercised under the terms of a new policy announced today by the U.S. General Services Administration.

"We found that some GSA Schedules contract holders that were small when originally awarded a Schedules contract, are now large, and in some cases may have been purchased by larger companies but are still listed as small on GSA contracts," said Boyd Rutherford, GSA Associate Administrator for Enterprise Development. "This is not how the small business programs were intended to function and results in lost opportunities for those businesses intended to be help by these programs."

This new policy is intended to address a loophole in Federal contracting that has allowed businesses to retain their status as "small" (and all the sub-categories) even after they no longer meet the requirements for being classified as small.

Previously, GSA and the Small Business Administration interpreted language from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to mean that vendors kept their status as a small business for the five-year term of a GSA Schedules contract. At the end of the initial term, vendors would be able to retain that small business status into each of the three, five-year option periods.

Now GSA has approved a class deviation from the FAR intended to ensure that federal contracts intended for small businesses are available to contractors with legitimate small business status. David Drabkin, GSA's Senior Procurement Executive, issued the deviation on October 10, 2002.

The change means that contractors operating under the Multiple Award Schedules in GSA's Federal Supply Service, or under any other multiple award contracts, such as the FAST program in GSA's Federal Technology Service, will have to recertify that they qualify as a small business each time their contract or contracts are open for renewal. Failure to recertify could lead to exclusion from federal contracting.

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property agency in Washington, D.C., that provides office space, supplies and services for the federal government. The agency, created in 1949 to increase government efficiency operates and manages 1,800 government-owned buildings and 6,500 leased buildings. It provides workspace for more than one million federal employees in more than 1,600 American communities.

Snowe to Chair Senate Committee on Small Business

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) announced today that she will chair the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the 108th Congress. Snowe has been a member of the Committee since coming to the Senate in 1995, and previously served as a member of the Committee on Small Business in the U.S. House of Representatives. Snowe will succeed Senator Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), who will become chair of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, which will oversee the reauthorization of the federal highway funding law in the coming two years. Snowe will assume the post when the 108th Congress convenes in January 2003.

"I look forward to the challenge of chairing a Senate Committee in the coming Congress, particularly on a matter as crucial to Maine as small business. Having served as a member of the Committee throughout my time in the Senate, and earlier on its House counterpart, I am eager to tackle an ambitious agenda that will ease the challenges small businesses face in finding affordable health insurance for their employees, grappling with government red tape, and accessing the credit and trade opportunities they need to grow and prosper," said Senator Snowe, who has been repeatedly recognized as a "Guardian of Small Business" by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) for her support for small business issues.

"Small businesses are the most successful tool we have for job creation, providing roughly 67 percent of initial job opportunities in the country as our original - and finest - job training program. Unfortunately, I have found that despite the role small businesses play in growing our economy, government too often frustrates their efforts. I intend to focus my attention as chair on relieving this pressure, and opening new opportunities for entrepreneurs," she said.

Snowe said her priorities will include:

Assuring access to affordable health insurance for small businesses and their employers; entrepreneurs, including farmers and fishermen. Providing regulatory and tax relief for small businesses. Helping small businesses enter foreign markets so they can expand and grow. Encouraging further growth and entrepreneurship in women-owned small businesses. Improving access to capital for small businesses. Increasing access and utilization of new technologies and e-commerce by small businesses. Assuring improved availability of worker education and training. Nationally, the estimated 13 to 16 million small businesses account for more than 99 percent of all employers, employing more than half of American workers. Small businesses play a central role in the nation's economic expansion. From 1992 to 1996, for example, small firms created 75 percent of new jobs - an increase of 10.5 percent, as compared to just 3.7 percent for corporate expansion. Snowe noted that female entrepreneurs are starting new firms at twice the rate of men, and currently own almost 40 percent of all firms in the U.S. About 8 million women-owned firms in the U.S. contribute $2.3 trillion annually to the economy, and employ 18.5 million people - about one in five workers.

Small businesses play a particularly central role in Maine's economy. Of the state's 37,000 employers, about 97 percent are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and these businesses account for creation of virtually every new job. Entrepreneurship also prospers in Maine, with an estimated 73,000 self-employed workers.

Center Launches Incubator To Champion Growth Of Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. - The National Women's Business Center, Inc. (the Center), a non-profit organization serving women business owners at all stages of business development, today announced the opening of an incubator in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C., to stimulate growth of small businesses and start-up companies. Eight early-stage businesses will have the opportunity to jumpstart their companies by availing themselves of an outfitted office environment and critical resources focused on boosting growth.

"Our goal in starting this business incubator is to serve as a springboard for new and existing one-person companies looking to grow their businesses," said Penny Pompei, President of the National Women's Business Center. "Not only do we provide them with the basic tools, such as telephones, computers and desk space in a prestigious downtown location, we offer them an energized office environment of equally invigorated entrepreneurs pursuing similar goals. The value-add for these start-ups is that they are co-located with the Center and its extensive resources focused on accelerating growth and success."

According to the National Business Incubation Association, business incubators reduce the risk of small business failures. In 2001 alone, North American incubators assisted more than 35,0000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for nearly 82,000 works and generated annual earnings of more than $7 billion.

The Center's incubator program extends to eight small businesses the prime location in downtown D.C., of Connecticut Avenue and K Street, N.W., without any long term lease requirements or personal guarantees. These start-ups and one-person shops are provided with all the office amenities including a computer, high speed Internet access, 202 area code telephone and voice mail services, personal office space with desk and chair and office equipment and supplies. In addition, these growing businesses receive two hours of personal business coaching each month from the highly experienced staff at the National Women's Business Center.

"We are committed to helping small businesses at every stage of development grow and prosper. Start-up companies have their own unique challenges and our incubator delivers the necessities so these business owners can focus on the more critical needs to get their businesses off and running. With only eight spaces available and a low monthly rent of $675, this opportunity will go fast," stressed Ms. Pompei, "so we encourage interested start-ups to act quickly to open their new office headquarters."