Antonio Doss, district director of the Small Business Administration Washington Metropolitan Area District Office, and Ann Sullivan, chief advocate at Women Impacting Public Policy, discuss the ChallengeHER initiative, and why it’s important to encourage women-led businesses to work with the federal government.
The Small Business Administration is doubling down on their efforts to get more businesses that don’t normally contract with the federal government to consider it. The latest initiative is “ChallengeHER,” which focuses on getting women-led businesses involved in government contracting. Antonio Doss, district director of the SBA Washington Metropolitan Area District Office, says that the effort is a logical step for the agency to take. “We want all of our small businesses to be successful, so we’re devoted to really helping improve the entrepreneurial acumen of all of our small business owners. The women component is really critical for us in that area as well,” Doss said. “Our focus is on training and education, really helping to build the business smarts of our business owners.” Ann Sullivan, chief advocate at Women Impacting Public Policy, says that there are some misconceptions about government contracting, and she’s hoping that ChallengeHER can clear them up. “The biggest misconception is that women think that doing business with the federal government or getting into that business mirrors what they can do on the commercial side. Nothing could be further from the truth, it’s actually the inverse. You just can’t go find a decision-maker. You have to understand the rules of engagement first,” Sullivan said.