Women are missing out on $4 billion in government contracts. Women Impacting Public Policy is offering a program to change that.

By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)

In the tech and VC world, millions of dollars can seem inconsequential as more and more startups receive millions in funding every single day. But billions of dollars will catch your attention.

When Sheryl Sandberg recently joined the billionaire’s club, everyone started talking. When Snapchat turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, people took note. And now, Women Impacting Public Policy, a national nonpartisan organization that advocates on behalf of female business owners, says women are missing out on $4 billion in government contracts that could be theirs if they have buttoned-up, viable business plans.

You read that right. Women are leaving $4 billion on the table.

Federal law mandates the U.S. Government to purchase at least five percent of its goods and services from women-owned small businesses, or WOSBs. According to a press release issued by WIPP, the government is falling short of that requirement. With their recently launched Federal Contracting Certificate Program, WIPP will provide help to female entrepreneurs to get the credentials, recognition and tools they need to successfully compete in the federal marketplace. The program is part educational and part networking, as WIPP members who complete the program will be listed in WIPP’s Directory of credentialed WOSBs.

“To date, the government has yet to reach its five percent goal, leaving roughly $4 billion of opportunity for qualified WOSBs unmet,” according to Barbara Kasoff, president of WIPP. “Our new program looks to provide women the necessary tools to ensure that the five percent goal is reached and eventually expanded.”

Since navigating the federal marketplace and winning government business is anything but an easy process, the WIPP program will help women navigate and better understand how to compete in government contracting. Program participants will get access to skills training and professional development that are unique to this particular government realm.

“Small business contracting is one of the most important tools that we have at the federal level to help America’s small businesses to grow and create jobs,” Kasoff said in the WIPP news release.

The Federal Contracting Certificate Program offers three levels of certification. “Level 1: Getting Registered” ensures business owners get the registrations that are required for the WOSB program. In “Level 2: Defining Your Market and Putting Together a Plan,” entrepreneurs put in place analysis and marketing plans so they have the infrastructure and resources they need to successfully compete. “Level 3: Ready for Business: Execution of Your Plan” leverages WIPP relationships and access to help female business owners compete.

We hope that women take advantage of this program so they’re better prepared to win those contracts. Because even though the government is required to purchase five percent of its goods and services from WOSBs, we’d like to see a more balanced number.

What actions do you think the government can take to support more female business owners?

BMikelPhotoSquareBetsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.