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Billions of Dollars Set Aside for Women Owned Businesses

ATLANTA -- Thanks to the U.S. Small Business Administration, women business owners have a lot of opportunities to contract with the government starting in 2011. "There are potentially billions of dollars waiting for women in the federal government," said Ana Harvey, the assistant administrator for the Office of Women's Business Ownership. Harvey, who is also a former business owner spoke to a group of 100 certified women business owners at the Greater Women's Business Council Annual Meeting on March 1 at the Coca-Cola Company.

Roz Lewis, GWBC® executive director, provided updated information on the organization's four guiding principles: delivering financial value, collaboration with partners, investment in the communities, and moving toward a world class organization.

"GWBC's 2011 theme Building a Community starts with the board of directors setting the framework for the CARS committees to go out and deliver inclusive programs throughout the year that encourage over 900 certified WBEs in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to join the WAVE, Women Adding Value Every Day," added Chris Seeterlin, board chair for GWBC and manager of Operations Management Leadership Program with GE Energy Service.

Harvey's speech informed the group of women business leaders that they have been under represented for many years. She added, "Now, due to set asides for women owned small businesses, there is an opportunity to secure contracts that they did not have access to before."

On February 4, 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration's final rule aimed at expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses became effective. The WOSB Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible WOSBs or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses.

Harvey's role is to oversee the agency's efforts to promote the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that provide business training, counseling, access to credit, capital and multiple business and networking opportunities.

Fifty-one percent ownership and control by one or more women who are a U.S. Citizens are among the eligibility requirements set forth in the Rule. Additionally, a firm must be considered small under its primary industry classification in order to participate in the program. There are additional requirements that must be met to become an eligible economically-disadvantaged women-owned small business.

According to Lewis, the Women's Business Enterprise National Council has submitted its application to be an SBA-approved third party certifier for the WOSB program. "This shows added value of being certified through WBENC and we will be excited to have this as an option for our WBEs if and when approved by the Small Business Administration."

"The Coca-Cola Company is a proud supporter of GWBC and honored to host the 2011 Annual Meeting. Coca-Cola has a long standing commitment to maximizing procurement opportunities for women business enterprises and we appreciate the advocacy and partnership with GWBC," said Eyvon Austin, supplier diversity manager of The Coca-Cola Company Global.

For more information on the WOSB Federal Contract visit or call 800-827-5722. The first contracts are expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.

Established in 2000, The Greater Women's Business Council is a non-profit organization for certified Women's Business Enterprises in Georgia and the Carolinas interested in promoting, developing and maintaining business relationships with major corporations, governmental agencies and other women business enterprises. For additional information, please visit

Source: Greater Women's Business Council

Published March 31, 2011

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