Join the Movement: Small Business Saturday, November 29th!

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday with the goal of helping small businesses achieve their most pressing need finding new customers. Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop at small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Customers that register their American Express cards to shop at small business will be given a monetary credit for each registered cardholder.

Shopping locally can revitalize your community, local economy and creates jobs. This is why Sabre88 is a supporter of Small Business Saturday and the undertaking to promote small business this shopping season.

Federal Womens Owned Small Business Program in Need of Oversight

The US Small Business Administration’s women-owned small business program, which begun in 2012 with the intent to funnel federal dollars to small businesses owned by women, has been failing to certify that only eligible business are awarded contracts according to a report issued by the US Government Accounting Office.

In order to take part in the WOSB program, a small business must be 51 percent owned and controlled by a woman which it must prove through financial documentation. The program went into effect in 2012 after the government failed to continue to meet a 15-year goal of awarding at least 5 percent of its prime and subcontract dollars to business owned by women. According to many The WOSB program has had limited effect on federal contracting opportunities available to WOSBs. Set aside contracts under the program represent less than 1 percent of all federal obligations to WOSBs.

“Without ongoing monitoring and oversight of the activities and performance of third-party certifiers, the Small Business Administration cannot reasonably assure that certifiers fulfill the requirements of the agreement,” claims the GAO. “As a result of inadequate monitoring and controls, potentially ineligible businesses may continue to incorrectly certify themselves as WOSBs, increasing the risk that they may receive contracts for which they are not eligible.”

Contracting officers, business owners and industry experts identified challenges and suggested potential modifications to influence proper program uses including: allowing sole-source contracts rather than requiring two businesses to compete, along with expanding the list of 330 industries that WOSBs are eligible for set asides.

Congressional Changes Imminent for Nation’s Small Businesses

Last week Republicans expanded their majority in the House of Representatives and captured enough seats in the Senate to seize control of Congress, splitting the balance of political power between the Capitol and the White House. While the consequences for single-party control of the Capitol remains to be seen, there are some important ramifications for the nation’s small businesses.

New Leadership on the Small Business Committees:

The House committee was already preparing for leadership change as Chairman Sam Graves R-Mo, prepared to step down in keeping with self-imposed term limits. For the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, change at the top is expected as well as the gavel switches hands from Democrat to Republican. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash will be forced to hand over leadership less than one year after assuming the chairmanship. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, currently the highest-ranking Republican on the committee, is likely to take over as chairman. Risch has pushed for more scrutiny over the small-business implications of federal regulations and has penned bills meant to help small firms raise more capital.

Tax Overhaul

Republican authored tax plans may likely sit better with many small business owners than the alternatives pitched thus far by the White House which has pushed only for corporate tax reform. Small business groups have noted that most small businesses are set up as pass through entities and would therefore see no legislation that influences their tax rate.

Health Care

Republicans aren’t likely to repeal the health care law in its entirety but are likely to make changes that small businesses oppose. Some owners oppose a portion of the law that declares employees who work 30 or more hours a week full-time. Those workers must be offered affordable coverage if a business will have 100 or more employees in 2015. There’s a good chance Republicans will try to ease that requirement.