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Blog | 03.01.21
By Danni BallImg 4543

There Has Never Been a Better Time for Women-Owned Businesses to Bid on Government Contracts

Fiscal year 2019 was only the second time in history that the federal government met its 5% contracting goal for women-owned small businesses (WOSB), awarding $26 billion (5.19 percent) to certified businesses.

Though this may not seem like a huge percentage in the scheme of things, it is proof that real effort is being made to ensure opportunities are maximized. More importantly, these efforts are trickling down to state and local governments, with many increasing their purchasing goals – and contract awards – significantly year over year.

For example, a new study revealed that only 13.4% of all state contracts were awarded to woman- and minority-owned businesses in Virginia. That prompted Gov. Ralph Northam to support a reframed state bill that would raise that percentage to at least 23.1% of state contracts. And the utilization rate for New York State's Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises on state contracts increased to 29.51% during the 2019-20 fiscal year, representing $3.14 billion in contracts. Yet, despite achieving the highest rate in the nation, New York wants to do better. This is a trend we’re seeing from coast-to-coast, with new legislation either being proposed or enacted in states such as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey to ensure women-owned businesses are given equal – or priority – consideration on contracts.

Therefore, all women-owned businesses should be doing three things right now:

  • Applying for certification, if not already secured. This article provides a detailed download on how certification is handled at the federal, state and local levels, as well as the criteria set forth by different certifying bodies. Without official WOSB certification, you may not be eligible for the advantages offered to disadvantaged business entities (DBE). It’s always best to confirm each agency’s current policies, as they do vary widely and change often. A local school district that may have allowed self-certification in the past may now require third-party certification. 
  • Reviewing the daily notification emails from Periscope Supplier to Government (S2G) to identify new solicitations from public sector agencies. It’s important to understand both demand for your products and services as well as the opportunities reserved exclusively for WOSBs. Taking note of the various bid opportunities being posted – even if you’re not quite ready yet to respond – will help you better gauge the current climate and determine the other pre-bid actions you must take to strengthen your competitive position.
  • Uploading catalogs to the Periscope Marketplace. Many agency buyers will look to the open market for goods and services – and, specifically, WOSBs – when trying to meet certain goals not supported with existing contracts. Make it easy for them to find you.

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About the Author

Danni Ball

Marketing Manager at Periscope Holdings