Military Spouse Magazine

MAR 2019

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Page 23 of 35

G O O D A D V I C E Win Government Work 3 pieces of expert advice. By Dee Dee Helfenstein, Solutions Lead for Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. THE PROFESSIONAL SACRIFICE MILITARY SPOUSES MAKE BECAUSE OF NEAR-CONSTANT MOVES IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED. TWENTY-THREE PERCENT ARE UNEMPLOYED, EVEN THOUGH THEY WANT TO WORK. I SHOULD ALSO MENTION THAT 91 PERCENT OF MILITARY SPOUSES ARE WOMEN. An exciting development is that many are turning to entrepre- neurship, particularly professional services, with little inventory to deal with while on the move. The federal government is eager to be their partner. Recently, a military spouse-owned consulting firm was awarded the largest ever U.S. Special Operations Command con- tract to a women-owned business. KNOW YOUR WORTH TO THE FEDER AL MISSION It's important for women and military spouse founders to understand their real value and fortunately, leaders in the government understand that increased diversity can unlock innovation. They view small business goals as more than just numbers, but rather see that inclusive in- novation is core to business transformation and applying well-rounded solutions to meet their missions into the future. "We are committed to ensur- ing that the 5 percent federal statutory goal for women-owned businesses is achieved," empha- sized Nina Roque, executive director for the National Wom- en's Business Council (NWBC), the federal government's only independent voice for women business owners and entrepre- neurs. "Consistent and reliable access to the federal market- place is necessary for women business owners to continue to develop and grow their business, and contribute, in a significant way, to the U.S. economy." Small businesses often have advantages over larger firms due to their ability to move quickly, offering agencies competitive pricing due to low overhead costs and deep niche expertise. But at a foundational level, it's the strong network and sup- port infrastructure that allows most businesses to get access to contracts in the first place. Why don't we hear more stories like that one? Often, it's unfortunately due to a lack of network access, capital, and resources. There are also systemic disadvantages toward female founders in particular. As we head into 2019, here are ways for military spouse entrepreneurs to update your tactics and stra- tegically position themselves for consideration as the next recipient of a federal contract. 1 Illustrations by Suzie Ward 24 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / MARCH 2019

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