Women Upping Their Chances Of Winning Government Contracts

It is estimated that, as of 2014, there are nearly 9.1 million women-owned enterprises, employing nearly 7.9 million workers and generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues. Women-owned firms now account for 30% of all enterprises, and are growing faster in number and
employment than most other firms. Despite this fact, women-owned firms employ only 6% of the country’s workforce, contribute just under 4% of business revenues, and only 2% of women-owned businesses grow beyond $1 million. This is according to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

Women-owned businesses that have gotten federal government contracts are 23 times more likely to break through that $1 million+ revenue barrier, according to Women and Minority Small Business Contractors: Divergent Paths to Equal Success.

Getting government contracts is hard work. Not only do you have to be certified as a women-owned business, you have to actively pursue networking and partnering if you want to work with big business and government, said Pamela Prince Eason, CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in an interview with Associated Press.

Women's Forum

Save The Date
We are developing a government contracting forum series for women-owned businesses. The series will help women, obtain government contracts at every level of government: school board, local, county, state, and federal.
The focus for the first forum on Saturday, May 16th will be how to obtain a contract with the Mamaroneck Union Free School District. Their 2014-2015 budget is $131 million with $429,000 for equipment, $13.5 million for purchased services, and $2.3 million for materials and supplies.
At this forum we will also be exploring how to replicate the DC Central Kitchen model locally to train local people to provide healthy food to local school districts.
The Obamas at DCCK

President Barack Obama checks in on First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia as they prepare burritos while volunteering at the DC Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Day
Our interview with Robert Egger, founder of DCCK: https://startuptown.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/robert-egger/

Tentative Speakers

Urvashi Rangan

Director, Consumer Safety and Sustainability
Expertise in: SafetyFoodProducts
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D. leads and directs the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports. She is responsible for managing risk analysis, policy assessments, label evaluations and consumer advice for tests, reports, and related advocacy work. Urvashi joined Consumers Union in 1999 and developed the ratings system, database, and Web site, Eco-labels.org for evaluating environmental and food labels. In 2005, she managed the launch of GreenerChoices,org, which covers green aspects over a wide range of products and services.
Dr. Rangan serves as a primary, national spokesperson for Consumer Reports in the areas of sustainable production/consumption practices, food safety, and product safety issues related to chemical and contaminant hazards.
Marie Wiggins
Executive Director ROC New York
The mission of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) is to improve the wages and working conditions for the nation’s 10 million restaurant workers.
Toan Huynh
Toan is the co-founder and co-owner of The Saucey Sauce Co. She is also a co-founder and senior executive at Cloud Sherpas. She also serves as a mentor, investor, and panelist in the NY tech and food start-up space. Toan is a member of the 37 Angels, a women-only angel investing network, Ellevate (formerly 85Broads) among others.
Carmen Huertas-Noble

Associate Professor Huertas-Noble is the founding director of the Community & Economic Development Clinic (CEDC) at CUNY School of Law. She served as a senior staff attorney in the Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center (UJC). As part of CDP, she worked with neighborhood residents to form nonprofits as well as established organizing groups to create alternative institutions, such as worker-owned cooperatives (cooperatives).

Professor Huertas-Noble has played a leading role in providing transactional legal support to worker-owned cooperatives in New York. While at UJC, she counseled cooperatives in navigating their legal entity formation options and on creating democratic governance structures. She worked with ROC-NY in creating COLORS, a worker-owned restaurant in Manhattan and Green Workers Cooperatives in creating ReBuilders Source, a South Bronx worker-owned business that collects and recycles construction materials. Since then, numerous community groups and attorneys have consulted with Professor Huertas-Noble on entity formation options and democratic decision making structures for cooperatives. Such groups, include Cidadao Global, a current client of the CEDC. Cidadao Global is in the process of creating the first eco-friendly house cleaning cooperative based in Queens.

GMO meals to American school children

One important issue to understand in developing a business to train local people to provide healthy food to local school districts is that millions of GMO meals are served to our children in American schools each day. These meals also contain food dyes, pesticides, synthetic chemicals and high fructose corn syrup which have been linked to diabetes, autism, food allergies, ADHD and auto immune diseases.

297 scientists and experts have signed a statement saying that GM foods have not been proven safe and that existing research raises concerns.

An article from the Institute for Responsible Technology talks to the issue of serving young people healthy food:

Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria’s processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.

I'm not a science experiment

The Mamaroneck Union Free School District has a food services contract with Aramark which is large corporation with $13.95 billion in revenue in 2013. In an article for the Detroit Free Press, Amy McVay, a former Aramark employee, gives an account of her work at the company:

[I]n a[n] interview with the Free Press and in the complaint filed with OSHA through her Detroit attorneys, McVay alleges she was harassed and retaliated against for complaining about a lack of temperature monitoring in cooking; the serving of raw or undercooked meat; falsified records related to dishwater temperature and cleaning solution quality; the serving of meat that had been dropped on the floor; changing the dates on stored leftover food so it could be served after its throw-away date; suspected inflating of the count of meals served — part of the basis for which Aramark is paid by the state — among other issues….

The Aramark contract, which displaced about 370 state employees and is expected to save more than $14 million a year, has been plagued with problems, including meal shortages, unauthorized menu substitutions, sanitation problems, incidents of Aramark employees smuggling in drugs or other contraband, and Aramark workers getting too friendly or engaging in sex acts with inmates. The Free Press, using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews, has documented problems with the contract in a series of exclusive reports.

In future forums we look to focus will be selling biodiesel to school districts and municipalities. 

study from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Coalition for Clean Air shows that children who ride a diesel school bus may be exposed to up to four times more toxic diesel exhaust than someone traveling in a car directly in front of it. It also found that excess exhaust levels on school buses were 23 to 46 times higher than levels considered to be a significant cancer risk according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and federal guidelines.

BioJoe and Beth Renwick

BioJoe and Beth Renwick. Our interview with the First Lady of Biodiesel: https://startuptown.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/first-lady-of-biodiesel-dr-beth-renwick/

In the future, we also look to focus on how to obtain E-Rate funds to upgrade broadband access:

The schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband.

Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.

E Rate

Lamarr Hedy (Samson and Delilah)

If it wasn’t for Hedy Lamarr, we wouldn’t have Wi-Fi

Lawrence Lessig

WiFi to Close the Digital Divide: https://startuptown.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/wifi-to-cross-the-digital-divide/
If the extremist win then this will destroy the potential for cheap ubiquitous uncontrolled access to the Internet… ~ Lawrence Lessig: rootstrikers.org

 The US government is the world’s largest single purchaser of goods and services, spending just over $535 billion in contracts in fiscal year 2011. This offers a tremendous market opportunity for growth-oriented firms, especially small businesses, as there is a 23% goal for federal spending with small firms, 5% with women-owned firms, and 5% with minority-owned firms.
Academy Award winner Geena Davis has appeared in several roles that became cultural landmarks, including portraying the first female President of the United States in ABC’s Commander in Chief. She is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters—and reduce gender stereotyping—in media made for children.

Geena Davis

At the Makers Conference, Davis discussed the lack of parity in media and its effect on young girls. “The more hours of TV a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life.”

She asked the MAKERS Conference, “What if unconscious gender bias is a much deeper problem than we’ve ever imagined?” and showed the challenges women face in media. The ratios of male to female characters has been exactly the same since 1946.  In movies, of the characters holding jobs, 81% are male.

Jean Kilbourne:

Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

Women bodies are turned into things

Budweiser ad


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