The U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle District Office joins with the nation to observe Women’s History Month in March by recognizing and honoring women’s contributions to small business everywhere.
Women-owned businesses continue to make strides throughout the United States. In 2007, women-owned businesses earned more than $1 trillion, and nearly 8 million women had their own business. In Washington state, there are more than 150,000 women-owned businesses, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the state’s total firms. “The SBA is proud to recognize the great accomplishments of women business owners throughout history, and want to let all women know we are here to give them a helping hand in starting up or boosting their small business,” said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings.
One woman business owner in particular knows how important it is to use SBA’s resources. Dana Pittman owns Sustainable Floors, Inc., a floor installation and interior design company that only uses environmentally safe materials and incorporates a sustainability culture throughout the company.
Pittman is a member of SBA’s 8 (a) Business Development Program, which helps small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace and gain access to federal and private procurement markets. The 8 (a) program allows businesses many opportunities, including mentoring, counseling, training, financial assistance and surety bonding, among others. Businesses can stay in the 8 (a) program for up to nine years. “SBA’s 8 (a) program has allowed me to grow my business in ways I never thought possible,” Pittman said.
The 8 (a) program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Pittman is an African-American female Veteran who is the controlling partner for Sustainable Floors. Since starting the company seven years ago with partner Colin Higginbottom, she has moved from a room in her old house in Tillicum, Washington, to a storefront with warehouse in Fife, Washington. Because of the connections she has made with federal contracting officers through the 8 (a) program, Pittman has installed floors at many locations throughout Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, including Madigan Army Medical Center, a movie theater and several barracks. Pittman’s endeavors, hard work and perseverance has allowed her business to hire more than 20 people and average more than $7 million in revenues each year.
There is good news for Pittman and other women-owned small businesses involved in federal contracting. The SBA recently announced that the Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracting opportunities for certified women-owned small businesses and will help federal agencies achieve the statutory goal that 5 percent of federal contracting dollars are awarded to women-owned small businesses. “This program change will make federal contracting dollars more accessible to women-owned small businesses,” said SBA Seattle District Office Director Nancy Porzio.
For more information about Sustainable Floors, visit their website at www.sustainableint.com, and for more information about SBA’s 8 (a) Program, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development.