SBA, WIPP and American Express OPEN Launch New Program to Close the Gap in Women Contracting

  SBA, WIPP and American Express OPEN Launch New Program to Close the Gap in
  Women Contracting

     “ChallengeHER” Helps Women Business Owners Get Connected to Contract
       Opportunities, Agency Officials and Resources Offline and Online

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- April 23, 2013

American Express OPEN, the small business division of the financial services
company, today announced a new partnership with the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) to help boost
government contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. The new
initiative, called ChallengeHER, will deliver free events and workshops,
online curriculum, mentoring and access to government buyers to provide women
entrepreneurs with the knowledge and connections they need to successfully
compete in the government marketplace.

ChallengeHER will kick off today at a luncheon in Washington, D.C. where
representatives from the SBA, WIPP and American Express OPEN are coming
together to unveil the new program to an audience of women-owned businesses.

“At SBA, one of our top priorities is making sure that more qualified
women-owned, veteran-owned and minority-owned small businesses have access to
government and commercial supply chain opportunities,” said SBA Administrator
Karen Mills. “Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest-growing segments
of new businesses in our economy, and the ChallengeHER initiative will help
connect these entrepreneurs with the tools and contracting opportunities they
need to grow, drive innovation and create jobs.”

Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA), which removed caps on eligible federal contract
awards under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting
program. Originally, there was a $4 million and $6.5 million cap on awards to
women-owned businesses under the program. Launched in February 2011, SBA’s
WOSB program enables federal agencies to set aside contracts specifically for
women-owned small businesses to help the government meet its goalto give at
least 5% of contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses.

“The removal of the caps is good news not just for women business owners, but
also for government agencies aiming to boost their procurement to women-owned
small businesses,” said Barbara Kasoff, president of WIPP. “With the
improvements to the WOSB program and our new partnership with the SBA and
American Express OPEN, 2013 is the year for women contractors.”

“Participation in federal contracting can be a lucrative revenue booster and a
way for women entrepreneurs to create a high-growth business according to our
research which found that 42 percent of women-owned small business contractors
generate revenues in excess of $1 million,” said Susan Sobbott, president of
American Express OPEN. “With ChallengeHER, we are calling all women
entrepreneurs to get out there, offer new innovative ideas and products to
government agencies and push their annual revenues past the million-dollar

About Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides critical support and
resources across every state and in every congressional district to help small
businesses grow and create jobs, focusing on the “Three C’s” of capital,
contracting and counseling. Additionally, SBA plays an increasing role in
helping to spur innovation and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness through
successful investment and research and development focused programs, as well
as export and trade assistance. Finally, SBA also serves as one of the leading
federal agencies providing assistance to businesses of all sizes, homeowners
and renters following natural disasters. For more information, visit

About Women Impacting Public Policy

WIPP is a national non-partisan public policy organization, advocating on
behalf of nearly 1 million women-owned businesses representing 68 business
organizations. For more information, please visit

About American Express OPEN®

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses
in the United States and supports business owners with products and services
to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and
credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on
business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and
services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at
and connect with us at,,,, and

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business
success.Learn more at


National Contact:
American Express OPEN
Scott Krugman, 212-640-3244
Director of Public Affairs
M Booth & Associates
for American Express OPEN
Moon Kim, 212-539-3285
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