ITS BID 360 CEO and Host of The Bid 360 Show, Shawn Herring Presents The Lowdown On Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) Not Getting Their Share of Government Contracts

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As women owned businesses expand their companies and Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) increase in diversity, number, range, and earning power, they contribute to the growth of the U.S economy. Small business owner Shawn Herring not only reveals ongoing challenges, but also offers women business owners different certification options that will enable them to pursue these government contracts.

Small business owner Shawn Herring has offered her insights into the current trend of Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) getting a raw deal when it comes to bagging their share of government contracts. Her observations are based on statistical data and figures collected from a wide array of authoritative and credible sources combined with her industry experience.

According to the National’s Women’s Business Council, there are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States, which reflects a 20.1% increase from 2002 to 2007. However, less than 1%, or to be more precise, 0.008000962% are federal contractors. A System for Award Management (SAM) search reveals that 62,472 companies register with a woman owned socio economic designation.

In 2011, The Small Business Administration (SBA) implemented The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program in 2011 to expand federal contracting opportunities for women business owners. According to this policy, WOSBs was to be allocated 5% of federal contract dollars apart from encouraging federal contracting agencies to set aside contracts specifically for them.

According to, in the financial year 2013, the US Federal Government spent $461 billion on government contracts*. Per the policy, 5% of the government spend, which means $23 billion dollars should have been set aside for WOSBs. However, data collected from the FPDS (Federal Procurement Data System) for all contracts in 2013 that had a woman owned designation shows that only $100 million was set aside for them, which not only falls way short of the $23 billion target, but also clearly indicates how much the system needs to change**.

Speaking about the underlying issues and the challenges that women business owners are currently facing, Herring said, “The government contract marketplace can be extremely convoluted. Trying to figure out the necessary steps to acquire proper woman owned certification, and how to leverage it to win a government contract can be extremely frustrating. Besides, succeeding as a government contractor is a challenge for everyone, not just women. At some point, women will have to acknowledge the challenge and surmount it. There are 23 billion reasons to try.”

She explains the two certification options that are available for women business owners who want to pursue these government contracts. The first one is Self-Certification where a WOSB certifies that at least 51% of the business is owned and managed by a woman. The business must register in SAM and select the Woman Owned socio- economic indicator. After SAM registration is complete, the WOSB must also register with General Login System (GLS) and upload a collection of documents to the Woman Owned Repository database.

The second one is 3rd party Certification where a WOSB pays a 3rd party to certify the business. Once the certification is complete and a certificate is issued, the same steps as mentioned for option 1 for SAM need to be followed. Additionally, the 3rd party document must be uploaded to the Woman Owned Repository.

The only 3rd parties accepted by the SBA for woman owned certification are El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

With statistics from the National’s Women’s Business Council that indicate 28.7% of all nonfarm businesses in the U.S comprise WOSBs that account for $1.2 trillion in total receipt, it is pretty obvious that the economy needs their contribution. It is vital that women owned firms are welcomed with open arms into the government contract marketplace, so that they can rightfully take their place, otherwise the 5% mandate is just a mere suggestion.

About ITS BID 360
Information Technology Solutions Inc (ITS) created ITS BID 360 and The Bid 360 Show on YouTube to help small businesses understand the government contract process. Small businesses have come to trust Shawn Herring for her plain and easy to understand guidance and advice.


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Shawn Herring
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