Thursday, July 25, 2013

Western PA Flooding: Disaster Assistance Now Available

The Pennyslvania counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Fayette have been declared a disaster area after flooding in Western Pennsylvania from weather events starting June 27.

Citizens in these three counties and the 14 counties that border them may be eligible for low interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.

The bordering counties in Pennsylvania include Armstrong, Blair, Clarion, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.

(Contiguous Maryland county: Garrett; Contiguous West Virginia counties: Monongalia and Preston)

Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications.

Disaster Loan Outreach Center Locations & Hours: 
>>These centers opened on July 23 and will close on July 30. 
  • Clearfield County: DuBois Area United Way 223 S. Jared St. DuBois, PA 15801
  • Fayette County: Joseph A. Hardy – Connellsville Airport (New Terminal Building) 988 Sky Drive Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
  • Jefferson County: First United Methodist Church of Reynoldsville 504 Jackson St. Reynoldsville, PA 15851-1356
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, through Tuesday, July 30 
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27 
  • Centers are not open on Sunday, July 28
SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the disaster loan outreach center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals to complete their applications.

Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or by emailing

Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website at

Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Victims may apply for disaster loans from SBA’s secure website at

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is September 16, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 16, 2014.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Changes to SBA Contracting Program for Women-Owned Small Businesses

In May, an interim final rule (available here) published in the Federal Register and effective immediately amended regulations to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) signed in January.

The interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract.  

As a result of the rule change, contracting officers will be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level which will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs. The SBA is currently working on the changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts.

Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification.  There are four approved third-party certifiers that perform eligibility exams: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Additional information and links about approved third-party certifiers are available at

To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least fifty-one percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women.  The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards.  To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.

The WOSB Program identifies eighty-three four-digit North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes where WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented.   Contracting officers may set aside contracts in these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price and the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract.

For more information on the Women-Owned Federal Small Business Contract Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thank You! Macy's Networking & Cosmetics Gala

Thank you to everyone who came to our first Networking & Cosmetics Gala hosted by Macy's Monroeville Mall last week! It was a delight to mingle with many of you throughout the evening. Special thanks to the staff at Macy's for making the event possible, as well as to Savoy restaurant for providing the delicious food.


A few photos from the event....

L-R: Mark Ionadi (VPSM Macy's Monroeville), Jayne Huston (Director, E-Magnify) JohnAnthony DeLeon (Special Events Coordinator, MidWest Region, Macy's) 

Debra Mason (Education & Training Manager, E-Magnify) and Macy's make-up artist

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.