Government Shutdown Severely Affecting Women-owned Businesses Fulfilling Government Contracts Without Payment

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Women business owners with contracts with the federal government say their enterprises have been placed in extremely serious situations. Many are supplying products or services as required in their government contracts; however, they are not receiving payment or the project has been stopped.

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Privately-owned companies are now underwriting the federal government. The longer this goes on, companies could falter due to insufficient funds.

Women-owned businesses across the country are experiencing negative repercussions from the government shutdown, according to Janet Harris-Lange, Director of The National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), a third-party certifier of Women Business Enterprises (WBE) in the United States. “We are receiving direct reports from women business owners with contracts with the federal government that say their enterprises have been placed in extremely serious situations,” says Harris-Lange. “They are supplying products or services as required in their government contracts; however, they are not receiving payment or the project has been stopped.”

Provider Resources (PRI), based in Erie, PA, is continuing to provide healthcare regulatory and policy consulting services to the federal government without compensation. President and CEO Shawn Keough-Hartz was told that there was funding available for her project, but there is no essential personnel in the governmental agency to process the checks for payment. “If we suspend services, we will be in violation of our federal contract and lose it completely,” explains Keough-Hartz.

Marissa Levin, Chairman of the Board, Information Experts, a strategic communications firm based in Reston, VA has had her firm’s government contract halted completely. She is paying her employees while the project sits in limbo, waiting to learn when payment will be received and when the project will resume.        

“The impact of this shutdown is disproportionately hurting small business across the board. In essence, privately-owned companies are now underwriting the federal government. The longer this goes on, companies could falter due to insufficient funds to pay their employees and maintain the equipment and materials necessary for the contract,” says Harris-Lange.

Harris-Lange reports that another area of importance now stymied is the flow of importing and exporting. Woman-owned businesses rely on imported products and supplies for manufacturing and retail to fulfill contracts with large corporations. The difficulty now in receiving goods is having a negative impact on them. Sandy Redington, owner of Signcraft Screenprint, Galena, IL, is concerned she will not be able to meet the demand of one of her clients, the largest US outdoor equipment manufacturer. “Currently, we have product in port just sitting there, but there is no one to unload it, and there is no other resource for us,” says Redington.

Shawn Keough-Hartz, Provider Resources, can be reached at (814) 480-8732. Sandy Redington, Signcraft Screenprint, can be reached at (815) 777-3030. Marissa Levin, Information Experts, can be reached at (703) 787-9100.

The National Women Business Owners Corporation, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, was the first national certifier of Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and is an approved Third Party Certifier for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s WOSB/EDWOSB contracting program. The website is http://www.NWBOC.org. Mailing address is NWBOC, 1001 W. Jasmine Drive, #G, Lake Park, Florida 33403. For more information, contact Janet Harris-Lange, 1-800-675-5066.

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