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Wyoming Business Tips for Jan. 23-29


January 18, 2011 — January 18, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Amy Lea, Wyoming Entrepreneur Procurement Technical Assistance Center program manager

"I was at a networking event recently and a woman I met was talking about what she was doing to get ready for some new opportunities that might become available when the Woman-Owned Small Business Contracting Program is implemented next month.  What is it and how can I get ready?" Jessie, Laramie

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recently published final guidelines regarding the long overdue Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program, which will be implemented Feb. 4

The details are still being developed, but according to the Small Entity Compliance Guide to the WOSB Program, the SBA does not plan to certify firms as it does for some of its other programs. It appears that self-certifications with supporting documentation and certifications from yet-to-be-announced third party certifiers will both be acceptable.

The first step, however, will be for women-owned firms to be registered to do business with the federal government in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) and provide additional information about their firms in the SBA's Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS).  The DSBS is a database contracting officers often use to find potential vendors for procurements under $25,000 because it is easily searchable and includes keywords, capabilities and references.

A DSBS search on Jan. 14, for woman-owned small businesses located in Wyoming, showed only 228 firms from 1,237 total small businesses in Wyoming. This means that only 18 percent of the Wyoming small business owners that are ready to contract with the federal government are women-owned.

More information can be found through the free services offered by the Wyoming Entrepreneur Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Contact Natasha Stahla in the Cheyenne office, Jeff Sneddon in Casper or Amy Lea in Thermopolis.

"We will walk you through every step of the registration process," Lea says. "We also will be ready to help document your women-owned small business status as soon as additional guidance becomes available."

The SBA has confirmed that it will have at least one representative to the 2011 GRO-Biz Conference and Idea Expo Feb. 22-24 in Evanston.  Information about the WOSB program and other government contracting opportunities for local businesses will be available.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/ .

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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