The SBA has a message for women in business
Calvin Goings, assistant associate administrator for the Small Business Administration has a message for women in business. “We can’t do it without you, and whatever you need from us, we’re ready to help.” That claim of conviction was his parting decree at a personal one-on-one interview between him and the Idaho Women’s Journal (IWJ).
The Small Business Administration invited the IWJ to interview Goings as part of his visit to Idaho to present the 2012 SBA Small Business of the Year award. Before the presentation, in a corner of a busy room, Goings shared a wide open vision. “I’m here to educate businesses that the SBA is here to give access to contracting, capital, and counseling.” His claim didn’t go unnoticed.
Goings has been tasked with the mission to lead a national effort to increase small business outreach. The IWJ challenged him explaining the flavor of the SBA is they are limited in their reach, they are an untouchable mass out of touch to women, and that money doesn’t really flow to local small business. Goings met the question with vigor, “We have to be relevant, user friendly, and timely. There are women-owned business right here who are certified providers. We really have improved our game and put SBA in a more relevant position for women. Now that we’ve done that, what do we do to go beyond that [become the action plan].”
Goings’ division will be conducting outreach programs through SCORE, the Small Business Development Center, and the newly re-established Women’s Business Center. Those trainings begin as early as this month when the Idaho Women’s Business Center will begin with a luncheon workshop.
The aim of Goings and the affiliate organizations is to make sure women-owned businesses are educated and prepared to accept government contracts. “Having a plan that is concise it critical for businesses to capture contracts,” says Goings. For women to garner government contracts, Goings says it’s important to have a thorough business plan, be a certified women-owned business, get listed with the government procurement program, have relationships with the outreach affiliates, attend the workshops to gain an understanding of how the government purchases, and know the contracting officers.
Uncle Sam is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. The SBA reserves 23 percent of all acquisitions for small business and five percent of that is isolated specifically for women in business. That may sound insignificant, but with the gross purchasing in excess of 400 billion dollars, that’s a whopping 4.6 billion dollars in holding for women.