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Education and Access for Women in Federal Contracts
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FAQ - Testimonies


What is SAM?

The System for Award Management ( is a database for all companies seeking to do business with the federal government and is a legal requirement when you are a federal contractor. Any vendor who wishes to bid on a contract or who wants to receive payment through a contract or grant should be listed in SAM. SAM accounts must be updated annually.

How do I choose a NAICS code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies businesses for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. The SBA uses NAICS as a basis for its size standards that apply to all Federal government programs, including procurement. In order to do business with the U.S. Government, each business must select a minimum of 1 NAICS code, but can have multiple codes. In order to determine your NAICS code and your size standard, please follow THIS LINK. If you are a company with multiple codes, it’s important to know your primary codes and to match your codes with the agency in which you are doing business. When creating your Capability Statement, you should personalize each statement to match the needs of the agency you are prospecting. To learn more about selecting NAICS codes, go to and select the appropriate webinar under Milestone 1 for setting up your business in the System for Award Management (SAM)

What is the importance of obtaining a CAGE code.

The Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) code is a unique five-character ID number used extensively within the federal government and assigned by the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The CAGE code is used to support a variety of mechanized systems throughout the government and provides a standardized method of identifying a given legal entity at a specific location.

How well do I need to understand the FAR?

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the set of rules governing federal procurement. In that sense, It importantly identifies what you can or can’t do. You don’t need to have every section of the FAR memorized, but you should know and understand the ones listed in any Request for Proposal (RFP) you plan on responding to.

How do you know if the government buys my goods or services?

One of the best ways to find what the government buys is to use the Federal Procurement Data System ( ), a free government website listing all past contracts. Type in your NAICS code in the search field, and it provides you the results of all the purchases made in the last 10-15 years within that code. Another free government website is which provides you in particular with supplier information including sub-contractors.

Is there one site that contains all agency forecasts?

No. In order to find the forecast for each agency, it is your responsibility to go to each agency’s website and search for the most recent forecast. This is a process that does take time, but it is invaluable information when learning the future needs of your targeted agency. If you don’t know where the forecast is located, you can do a Google search and often times a link to the forecast is on the first page of the search. Once you are on the agency’s website, do a key word search for ‘forecast’. It is possible that the forecast is at least a year old, but this is still valuable information when learning about the agency as you compare the forecast to their budget. If a new forecast is not available, invest the time looking at their past budget and their upcoming spending budget to determine where they have allocated certain buckets of money for projects or missions.

What’s next after you find the forecast?

Study the forecast that pertains to your related services. Many forecast have the current awarded contract which is important as it contains vital information for preparing your bid. The contracting officer often times is also listed providing you with the opportunity to reach out for meetings in advance. For additional information on agency forecasts, please go to and review the webinars under Milestone 5. There are three layers of people that you want to reach out to:

• The small business representatives is the top layer in whom you should always reach out

• The contracting officer is the middle layer (including contracting specialist depending on the size of the agency)

• The third layer and the most difficult to find are at the Program Level (could be called contracting officer technical representatives (COTAR), Project or Program Manager, Engineer, etc. … there are many titles so they don’t make it easy).

Remember – three layers, multiple people within those three layers!

How beneficial is it to attend vendor outreach event for match making?

The federal government is an event heavy market place, and the government requires outreach events for both big and small industries. We recommend you attend every vendor outreach session within your targeted agencies. Before attending, it’s important to discover everything you can about your targeted agency in preparation for your visit, or these sessions will become a colossal waste of time. For additional information on attending vendor outreach events, please go to and review the webinars under Milestone 6.

How useful your website is as a marketing tool?

When federal buyers are vetting your company, the first place they check is your SAM registration, then the small business profile and the third place is your website … and you want to make sure that the website supports everything that you said in SAM and in the business profile. It is important that your company website become government friendly.

What is GSA?

GSA stands for Government Services Administrations, a huge agency with multiple purposes. For federal contracting, the GSA schedule Is a pre-negotiated 5 years contract, renewable potentially for three-five year period. Of importance to note: having a GSA schedule does not mean you are guaranteed business. It is still critical to pursue the business through your normal government marketing protocols.

Success Stories from Give Me Five/WIPP Members

WIPP asked: How has Give Me 5 helped your Business?

Cynthia Karnik, President, GovPartners

The webinars and printed material offer valuable information for all businesses. We have included these materials in our training resources for our staff, to ensure that they remain knowledgeable, aware and ahead of the market, opportunities and facts as it relates to Women in contracting. As a Small Woman and Minority Owned business, GovPartners understands the importance of educating its staff on the rules and regulations within the federal contracting arena. We became acquainted with WIPP, OPEN and Give Me 5% through our SBA. We have participated in several OPEN and Give Me 5% webinars and seminars and particularly gained a great deal of beneficial information while attending the Department of Defense Women-Owned Small Business Opportunity Forum on October 24, 2012.

Vicki Marino, President, Kenmar General Contracting

I joined WIPP and participated on a webinar on federal government contracting hosted by Barbara English. At the end fo the webinar, I contacted Ms. English and hired her to assist me in positioning my company to do business with the federal government and to teach me how to market my services. She convinced me that I needed a mentor and proceeded to reach out to potential mentors. As a result, I entered the SBA mentor/protégé program with a large construction company and I am the managing partner of our joint venture, “Kenmar-Gaskins JV. Our first award was a design build renovation contract at the Naval Branch Health Clinic at NAS Key West for $1,036,230.

I wish I could attend more, but so far the most valuable tool for me beside the various email updates and webinars has been the connection that WIPP has made between the small business deputies at the various agencies who then request capability statements from the members. As a result of one of these requests I landed a job with the U.S. Coast Guard for $54,926.70. This was a direct result of sending in my Capability Statement to WIPP as requested – I was contacted by a contracting officer who confirmed my qualifications and bonding capacity and I got the job.

In the last 6 months I have hired two people and I am about to hire one more in the next couple of weeks directly due to the award of two government contracts. One of those two hires that I made in the last 6 months is a veteran of the US Army retired after 32 years of service who was out of work for more than 6 months.

Amber Peebles, President, Athena Construction Group

Well, for starters the GM5 program helped solidify the decision to stay in construction. For a Woman Owned Business this can be a very difficult industry in which to excel and thrive, but with the GM5 I knew that the battle space of opportunity had just increased in our favor. Additionally, being selected as the small business Government Contractor of the Year will provide us with increased exposure and legitimacy. We are extremely proud of this award.

My first involvement started with WIPP. I was a moderator of a panel on Woman- Owned business at the MacDill AFB small business conference. A guest on the panel was Gloria Larkin who suggested I join WIPP of which I am now a member. I am forever grateful to her for the suggestion. From there I attended various events, the celebration luncheon for the GM5 program, an OPEN program in DC and more recently involved in VIP as a result of having the honor of being selected as small business Government Contractor of the Year.

Anthie Zairis, President, Group Z

The two biggest areas where the GM5 was effective was with the federal agency specific information such as an overview of the agency, what they are looking for, how their contracting works, what goals they need to reach, what contracts are coming up and second, the ability to meet federal and prime employees regarding existing opportunities.

Angela Dingle, President, Ex Nihilo

The Give Me 5% program offered online training and OPEN offered agency information sessions that helped Ex Nihilo to understand how to position itself for contracting opportunities and an understanding of how best to work with a given federal agency.

I joined WIPP as a National Partner in 2008 after attending a networking event regarding the Economic Blueprint. I learned about and began participating in the GM5 program. I have found that the most valuable programs are the educational programs like GM5 and those that provide insight and education into procurement activites at a given agency. I have attended OPEN events at federal agencies (e.g., State Department), VETS Conference, WIPP Annual Conventions, etc.

Since joining WIPP, we have won an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract as a prime, one IDIQ as a subcontractor and several subcontracts. Our prime contract is a five year systems engineering IDIQ with a contract ceiling of $39 million, and our subcontracts are from one to three years in duration, range in value from $68,000 to $1.4 million and consist of a variety of governance, risk management and compliance services. In all but one instance, we teamed with one or more small businesses to win the contract.

Lesa Adeboye, President, The Alliance Group, Inc.

Specific to my business, training was offered targeted at firms interested in/or doing business with the federal government. The information shared in these sessions was detailed and current – crucial in the federal space where regulations change often. AGI was able to take the information shared in the training session to ensure compliance when supporting government contracts and to educate small business clients seeking government opportunities.

What programs have you attended, what programs have been most valuable? I have attended many of the procurement related training sessions over the years including the latest training, “The Importance of Past Performance”. I also recently participated in a GM5 training session that was held in partnership Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GaPAC) on developing an effective elevator speech and capability statement. The training was well attended and participants provided very positive feedback.

Janet Amirault, CEO, Software Consortium, Inc.

OPEN, VIP and Give Me 5% programs have provided important educational opportunities to our CEO Janet Amirault, who in turn has shared the knowledge throughout her executive team, and applied it to become immediately useful. Janet has attended several live WIPP learning and networking events and meetings. The relationships that have occurred as a result are providing significant assistance; she has met extraordinary women and men who are dedicated to helping her be more successful by providing education, guidance, expertise, tools, introductions, PR exposure, awareness of opportunities, and other types of support. She and SCI executive team have also accessed many of the excellent Give Me 5 Federal Contracting Training Courses, podcasts and presentations, from the WIPP website.

SCI was introduced to WIPP and the GM5 and OPEN programs by Board member Gloria Larkin, whom SCI had engaged as a consultant. Both Gloria and Barbara Kasoff were proactive in extending invitations to Janet to get her to the first WIPP event. At that event she was introduced to and encouraged to get involved in the OPEN, GM5 and VIP programs.

SCI has added 8 new consultants for its recent government contracts. Additionally, SCI has added new roles to the executive team including two Vice President positions, Federal Business Development and Technology Solutions, to support federal sales. SCI has invested in TargetGov and Achievence to empower its federal sales, and added several partners to guide its growth. SCI is also developing relationships with 10 companies to grow from a sub contractor/teaming perspective.

Julie D’Agostino, President, LMD Enterprises, LLC

Without a doubt the Give Me 5% Program has been a key contributor to my success in federal contracting. The webinars especially have been extremely helpful in understanding how the WOSB Program works, how to make sure I am properly certified and, most importantly, how to market myself. In addition to the “How Tos” it is been very helpful to learn about the “What Not To Dos”. These webinars have given me the confidence to contact anyone in any agency to introduce myself and my company – something I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing before. -->