Polling is a powerful tool to help our elected officials determine how they should vote.
Standard polling methods don't give you the control that you deserve. With BetterDistricts you can show your representative exactly how strongly a bill is supported in your community.
Send a clear signal on how you want your government to work.
Women's Business Centers Improvements Act of 2017
The bill revises the duties of the Office of Women's Business Ownership and declares it is the Office's mission to assist women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and compete in global markets by providing quality support with access to capital, access to markets, job creation, growth, and counseling.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) shall establish standards for a program to accredit eligible entities receiving a grant to operate one or more women's business centers.
These organizations shall be eligible to apply for such a grant:
Failure to obtain non-federal funding must be for two consecutive years before an eligible entity shall become ineligible for advance disbursements, or for any other SBA-funded project.
An SBA employee shall:
An eligible entity whose review identifies problems shall develop a remedial plan of action for the Office to approve or amend, subject to appeal. The Office shall terminate any grant for failure of compliance with a plan of action.
Upon request by an eligible entity, the SBA may waive, in whole or in part, although not for more than two years, the requirement to obtain non-federal funds for a grant recipient's counseling and training activities.
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
To amend the Small Business Act to improve the women’s business center program, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the “Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2018”.
Section 29 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 656) is amended to read as follows:
“(1) ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR.—The term ‘Assistant Administrator’ means the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Women's Business Ownership established under subsection (l).
“(A) an organization described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code;
“(B) a State, regional, or local economic development organization, so long as the organization certifies that grant funds received under this section will not be co-mingled with other funds;
“(C) an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)), unless such institution is currently receiving a grant under section 21;
“(D) a development, credit, or finance corporation chartered by a State, so long as the corporation certifies that grant funds received under this section will not be comingled with other funds; or
“(E) any combination of entities listed in subparagraphs (A) through (D).
“(3) SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN OWNED AND CONTROLLED BY WOMEN.—The term ‘small business concern owned and controlled by women’ has the meaning given under section 3(n).
“(4) WOMEN'S BUSINESS CENTER.—The term ‘women's business center’ means the location at which counseling and training on the management, operations (including manufacturing, services, and retail), access to capital, international trade, Government procurement opportunities, and any other matter that is needed to start, maintain, or expand a small business concern owned and controlled by women.
“(1) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is established a Women’s Business Center Program under which the Administrator may provide a grant to any eligible entity to operate one or more women’s business centers for the benefit of small business concerns owned and controlled by women.
“(2) USE OF FUNDS.—The women’s business centers shall be designed to provide counseling and training that meets the needs of the small business concerns owned and controlled by women, especially socially or economically disadvantaged women, and shall provide—
“(A) financial assistance, including training and counseling in how to apply for and secure business credit and investment capital, preparing and presenting financial statements, and managing cash flow and other financial operations of a small business concern;
“(B) management assistance, including training and counseling in how to plan, organize, staff, direct, and control each major activity and function of a small business concern; and
“(C) marketing assistance, including training and counseling in identifying and segmenting domestic and international market opportunities, preparing and executing marketing plans, developing pricing strategies, locating contract opportunities, negotiating contracts, and utilizing varying public relations and advertising techniques.
“(A) INITIAL GRANT.—The amount of an initial grant provided under this subsection to an eligible entity shall be not more than $185,000 (as such amount is annually adjusted by the Administrator to reflect the change in inflation).
“(i) IN GENERAL.—With respect to an eligible entity that has received a grant, the Administrator may award an additional grant of up to $65,000, to be dispersed after the expiration of the term of the initial grant under this subsection if the Administrator determines that the eligible entity—
“(I) has agreed to obtain, after its application has been approved and notice of award has been issued, cash contributions from non-Federal sources of 1 non-Federal dollar for each Federal dollar;
“(II) is in good standing with the Women's Business Center Program; and
“(III) has met performance goals for grant term of the initial grant, if applicable.
“(I) during the 3rd and 4th quarters of the grant term of the initial grant; and
“(II) from unobligated amounts made available to the Administrator to carry out this section.
“(C) CONTINUATION GRANTS.—The Administrator may award a continuation grant of up to $150,000 to an eligible entity that received an initial grant under subparagraph (A). There shall be no limitation on the number of continuation grants an eligible entity may receive under this section.
“(1) INITIAL GRANTS AND CONTINUATION GRANTS.—To receive an initial grant or continuation grant under this section, an eligible entity shall submit an application to the Administrator in such form, in such manner, and containing such information as the Administrator may require, including—
“(i) has designated an executive director or program manager, who may be compensated using grant funds awarded under this section or other sources, to manage the women's business center for which a grant under subsection (b) is sought; and
“(ii) meets the accounting and reporting requirements established under guidance issued by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the eligible entity;
“(i) provide counseling and training described under subsection (b)(2);
“(ii) providing training and services to a representative number of women who are socially or economically disadvantaged; and
“(iii) working with resource partners of the Administration and other entities; and
“(i) includes information relating to the assistance to be provided by the women's business center in the area in which the women's business center is located;
“(ii) describes the ability of the eligible entity to meet the needs of the market to be served by the women's business center, including the ability to fundraise to obtain the matching funds required under subsection (e); and
“(iii) describes the ability of the eligible entity to provide counseling and training described under subsection (b)(2), including to a representative number of women who are socially or economically disadvantaged.
“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator shall maintain a copy of each application submitted under this subsection for not less than 5 years.
“(B) PAPERWORK REDUCTION.—The Administrator shall take steps to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable, the paperwork burden associated with carrying out subparagraph (A).
“(A) the experience of the applicant in providing entrepreneurial training;
“(B) the amount of time needed for the applicant to commence operation of a women’s business center;
“(C) the capacity of the applicant to meet the accreditation standards established under subsection (l)(4) in a timely manner;
“(D) the ability of the applicant to sustain operations, including its ability to obtain sufficient non-Federal funds, for a 5-year period;
“(E) the proposed location of a women’s business center to be operated by the applicant eligible entity and its proximity to Veteran Business Outreach Centers and to recipients of grants under section 8(b)(1) or 21; and
“(F) the population density of the area to be served by the women’s business center operated by the applicant eligible entity.
“(A) RULEMAKING.—The Administrator shall issue regulations to specify the criteria for review and selection of applicants under this subsection.
“(B) MODIFICATIONS PROHIBITED AFTER ANNOUNCEMENT.—With respect to a public announcement of any opportunity to be awarded a grant under this section made by the Administrator pursuant to subsection (j)(1), the Administrator may not modify regulations issued pursuant to subparagraph (A) with respect to such opportunity unless required to do so by an Act of Congress or an order of a Federal court.
“(C) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this clause may be construed as prohibiting the Administrator from modifying the regulations issued pursuant to subparagraph (A) (after providing an opportunity for notice and comment) as such regulations apply to an opportunity to be awarded a grant under this section that the Administrator has not yet publicly announced pursuant to subsection (j)(1).
“(A) in the first and second year of the term of an initial grant, if applicable, 1 non-Federal dollar for each 2 Federal dollars; and
“(B) in each year of the term of an initial grant, if applicable, 1 non-Federal dollar for each Federal dollar.
“(2) FORM OF MATCHING FUNDS.—Not more than one-half of non-Federal matching funds described under paragraph (1) may be in the form of in-kind contributions that are budget line items only, including office equipment and office space.
“(3) DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS.—The Administrator may disburse an amount not greater than 25 percent of the total amount of a grant awarded to an eligible entity before such eligible entity obtains the non-Federal matching funds described under paragraph (1).
“(4) FAILURE TO OBTAIN MATCHING FUNDS.—If an eligible entity fails to obtain the required matching funds described under paragraph (1), the eligible entity may not be eligible to receive advance disbursements pursuant to paragraph (3) during the remainder of the term, if applicable, of a grant awarded under this section. Before approving such eligible entity for an additional grant or continuation grant under this section, the Administrator shall make a written determination, including the reasons for such determination, of whether the Administrator believes that the eligible entity will be able to obtain the requisite funding under paragraph (1) for such additional grant or continuation grant.
“(A) IN GENERAL.—Upon request by an eligible entity, and in accordance with this paragraph, the Administrator may waive, in whole or in part, the requirement to obtain non-Federal matching funds for a grant awarded under this section for the eligible entity for a fiscal year. The Administrator may not issue such a waiver for more than a total of 2 consecutive fiscal years.
“(i) the economic conditions affecting the eligible entity;
“(ii) the impact the waiver would have on the credibility of the Women's Business Center Program under this section;
“(iii) the demonstrated ability of the eligible entity to raise non-Federal funds; and
“(iv) the performance of the eligible entity under the initial grant.
“(C) LIMITATION.—The Administrator may not issue a waiver under this paragraph if granting the waiver would undermine the credibility of the Women's Business Center Program.
“(6) EXCESS NON-FEDERAL DOLLARS.—The amount of non-Federal dollars obtained by an eligible entity that is above the amount that is required to be obtained by the eligible entity under this subsection shall not be subject to the requirements of part 200 of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto, if such amount of non-Federal dollars—
“(A) is not used as matching funds for purposes of implementing the Women’s Business Center Program; and
“(B) was not obtained using funds from the Women’s Business Center Program.
“(A) operate a women’s business center under this section separately from other projects, if any, of the eligible entity; and
“(B) separately maintain and account for any grants received under this section.
“(A) REQUIRED SITE VISIT.—Before receiving an initial grant under this section, each applicant shall have a site visit by an employee of the Administration, in order to ensure that the applicant has sufficient resources to provide the services for which the grant is being provided.
“(i) conduct an annual review of the compliance of each eligible entity receiving an initial grant under this section with the grant agreement, including a financial examination; and
“(ii) provide such review to the eligible entity as required under subsection (j)(3).
“(A) PLAN OF ACTION.—If a review of an eligible entity under paragraph (2)(B) identifies any problems, the eligible entity shall, within 45 calendar days of receiving a copy of such review, provide the Assistant Administrator with a plan of action, including specific milestones, for correcting such problems.
“(B) PLAN OF ACTION REVIEW BY THE ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR.—The Assistant Administrator shall review each plan of action submitted under subparagraph (A) within 30 calendar days of receiving such plan. If the Assistant Administrator determines that such plan—
“(i) will bring the eligible entity into compliance with all the terms of the grant agreement, the Assistant Administrator shall approve such plan; or
“(ii) is inadequate to remedy the problems identified in the annual review to which the plan of action relates, the Assistant Administrator shall set forth such reasons in writing and provide such determination to the eligible entity within 15 calendar days of such determination.
“(C) AMENDMENT TO PLAN OF ACTION.—An eligible entity receiving a determination under subparagraph (B)(ii) shall have 30 calendar days from the receipt of the determination to amend the plan of action to satisfy the problems identified by the Assistant Administrator and resubmit such plan to the Assistant Administrator.
“(D) AMENDED PLAN REVIEW BY THE ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR.—Within 15 calendar days of the receipt of an amended plan of action under subparagraph (C), the Assistant Administrator shall either approve or reject such plan and provide such approval or rejection in writing to the eligible entity.
“(i) IN GENERAL.—If the Assistant Administrator rejects an amended plan under subparagraph (D), the eligible entity shall have the opportunity to appeal such decision to the Administrator, who may delegate such appeal to an appropriate officer of the Administration.
“(ii) OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPLANATION.—Any appeal described under clause (i) shall provide an opportunity for the eligible entity to provide, in writing, an explanation of why the eligible entity’s amended plan remedies the problems identified in the annual review conducted under paragraph (2)(B).
“(iii) NOTICE OF DETERMINATION.—The Administrator shall provide to the eligible entity a determination of the appeal, in writing, not later than 15 calendar days after the eligible entity files an appeal under this subparagraph.
“(iv) EFFECT OF FAILURE TO ACT.—If the Administrator fails to act on an appeal made under this subparagraph within the 15-day period specified under clause (iii), the eligible entity’s amended plan of action submitted under subparagraph (C) shall be deemed to be approved.
“(i) a plan of action approved by the Assistant Administrator under paragraph (3)(B)(i); or
“(ii) an amended plan of action approved by the Assistant Administrator under paragraph (3)(D) or approved on appeal under paragraph (3)(E).
“(B) APPEAL OF TERMINATION.—An eligible entity shall have the opportunity to challenge the termination of a grant under subparagraph (A) on the record and after an opportunity for a hearing.
“(C) FINAL AGENCY ACTION.—A determination made pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall be considered final agency action for the purposes of chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code.
“(A) solicit cash and in-kind contributions from private individuals and entities to be used to operate a women’s business center; and
“(B) use amounts made available by the Administrator under this section for the cost of such solicitation and management of the contributions received.
“(6) NOTICE AND COMMENT REQUIRED.—The Administrator may only make a change to the standards by which an eligible entity obtains or maintains grants under this section, the standards for accreditation, or any other requirement for the operation of a women’s business center if the Administrator first provides notice and the opportunity for public comment, as set forth in section 553(b) of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any exceptions provided for under such section.
“(i) an itemized cost breakdown of actual expenditures for costs incurred during the preceding year; and
“(ii) documentation regarding the amount of matching assistance from non-Federal sources obtained and expended by the eligible entity during the preceding year in order to meet the requirements of subsection (e) and, with respect to any in-kind contributions described in subsection (e)(2) that were used to satisfy the requirements of subsection (e), verification of the existence and valuation of those contributions; and
“(B) analyze the results of each such examination and, based on that analysis, make a determination regarding the programmatic and financial viability of each women's business center operated by the eligible entity.
“(A) shall consider the results of the most recent examination of the eligible entity under paragraph (1); and
“(i) the eligible entity has failed to provide, or provided inadequate, information under paragraph (1)(A); or
“(ii) the eligible entity has failed to provide any information required to be provided by the women’s business center for purposes of the management report under subsection (k)(1), or the information provided by the center is inadequate.
“(1) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section may enter into a contract with a Federal department or agency to provide specific assistance to small business concerns owned and controlled by women and other underserved small business concerns, if performance of such a contract does not hinder the ability of the eligible entity to carry out the terms of a grant received under this section.
“(2) ADMINISTRATOR.—The authority of the Administrator to enter into contracts shall be in effect for each fiscal year only to the extent and in the amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts. After the Administrator has entered into a contract, either as a grant or a cooperative agreement, with any applicant under this section, the Administrator shall not suspend, terminate, or fail to renew or extend any such contract unless the Administrator provides the applicant with written notification setting forth the reasons therefore and affords the applicant an opportunity for a hearing, appeal, or other administrative proceeding under chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code.
“(1) IN GENERAL.—A women's business center may not disclose the name, address, or telephone number of any individual or small business concern receiving assistance under this section without the consent of such individual or small business concern, unless—
“(A) the Administrator is ordered to make such a disclosure by a court in any civil or criminal enforcement action initiated by a Federal or State agency; or
“(B) the Administrator considers such a disclosure to be necessary for the purpose of conducting a financial audit of a women's business center, except that such a disclosure shall be limited to the information necessary for such audit.
“(A) restrict Administration access to women’s business center data; or
“(B) prevent the Administration from using information about individuals who use women’s business centers (other than the information described in subparagraph (A)) to conduct surveys of such individuals.
“(3) REGULATIONS.—The Administrator shall issue regulations to establish standards for disclosures for purposes of a financial audit under paragraph (1)(B).
“(1) A public announcement of any opportunity to be awarded grants under this section, to include the selection criteria under subsection (d) and any applicable regulations.
“(2) To any applicant for a grant under this section that failed to obtain such a grant, an opportunity to debrief with the Administrator to review the reasons for the applicant’s failure.
“(3) To an eligible entity that receives an initial grant under this section, if a site visit or review of the eligible entity is carried out by an officer or employee of the Administration (other than the Inspector General), a copy of the site visit report or evaluation, as applicable, within 30 calendar days of the completion of such visit or evaluation.
“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator shall prepare and submit to the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate a report on the effectiveness of women’s business centers operated through a grant awarded under this section.
“(i) the number of individuals receiving assistance;
“(ii) the number of startup business concerns formed;
“(iii) the gross receipts of assisted concerns;
“(iv) the employment increases or decreases of assisted concerns;
“(v) to the maximum extent practicable, increases or decreases in profits of assisted concerns; and
“(vi) the most recent analysis, as required under subsection (g)(1)(B), and the subsequent determination made by the Administration under that subsection.
“(A) STUDY.—The Administrator shall periodically conduct a study to identify industries, as defined under the North American Industry Classification System, underrepresented by small business concerns owned and controlled by women.
“(B) REPORT.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this subsection, and every 5 years thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives a report on the results of each study under paragraph (1) conducted during the 5-year period ending on the date of the report.
“(1) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is established within the Administration an Office of Women's Business Ownership, which shall be responsible for the administration of the Administration's programs for the development of women's business enterprises (as defined in section 408 of the Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988 (15 U.S.C. 7108)). The Office of Women's Business Ownership shall be administered by an Assistant Administrator, who shall be appointed by the Administrator.
“(A) QUALIFICATION.—The position of Assistant Administrator shall be a Senior Executive Service position under section 3132(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code. The Assistant Administrator shall serve as a noncareer appointee (as defined in section 3132(a)(7) of that title).
“(i) Recommend the annual administrative and program budgets of the Office and eligible entities receiving a grant under the Women’s Business Center Program.
“(ii) Review the annual budgets submitted by each eligible entity receiving a grant under the Women’s Business Center Program.
“(iii) Collaborate with other Federal departments and agencies, State and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations to maximize utilization of taxpayer dollars and reduce (or eliminate) any duplication among the programs overseen by the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and those of other entities that provide similar services to women entrepreneurs.
“(iv) Maintain a clearinghouse to provide for the dissemination and exchange of information between women’s business centers.
“(v) Serve as the vice chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise and as the liaison for the National Women’s Business Council.
“(3) MISSION.—The mission of the Office of Women's Business Ownership shall be to assist women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and compete in global markets by providing quality support with access to capital, access to markets, job creation, growth, and counseling by—
“(A) fostering participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy by overseeing a network of women's business centers throughout States and territories;
“(B) creating public-private partnerships to support women entrepreneurs and conduct outreach and education to small business concerns owned and controlled by women; and
“(i) ensure women are well-represented in those programs and being served by those programs; and
“(ii) identify gaps where participation by women in those programs could be increased.
“(A) ESTABLISHMENT.—Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Administrator shall publish standards for a program to accredit eligible entities that receive a grant under this section.
“(i) shall provide a period of not less than 60 days for public comment on such standards; and
“(ii) may not terminate a grant under this section absent evidence of fraud or other criminal misconduct by the recipient.
“(C) CONTRACTING AUTHORITY.—The Administrator may provide financial assistance, by contract or otherwise, to a relevant national women’s business center representative association to provide assistance in establishing the standards required under subparagraph (A) or for carrying out an accreditation program pursuant to such standards.
“(1) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administration to carry out this section, to remain available until expended, $21,750,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2022.
“(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), amounts made available under this subsection for fiscal year 2018, and each fiscal year thereafter, may only be used for grant awards and may not be used for costs incurred by the Administration in connection with the management and administration of the program under this section.
“(i) For the first fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph, 2.65 percent.
“(ii) For the second fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph and each fiscal year thereafter through fiscal year 2022, 2.5 percent.
“(3) EXPEDITED ACQUISITION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Administrator may use such expedited acquisition methods as the Administrator determines to be appropriate to carry out this section, except that the Administrator shall ensure that all small business sources are provided a reasonable opportunity to submit proposals.”.
(a) Terms and conditions.—A nonprofit organization receiving a grant under section 29(m) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 656(m)), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, shall continue to receive the grant under the terms and conditions in effect for the grant on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, except that the nonprofit organization may not apply for a continuation of the grant under section 29(m)(5) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 656(m)(5)), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Length of continuation grant.—The Administrator of the Small Business Administration may award a grant under section 29(m) of the Small Business Act, as amended by this Act, to a nonprofit organization receiving a grant under section 29(m) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 656(m)), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, for the period—
(1) beginning on the day after the last day of the grant agreement under such section 29(m); and
(2) ending at the end of the third fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this Act.
Not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of Small Business Administration shall publish in the Federal Register such regulations as are necessary to carry out section 29 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 656), as amended by this Act. The Administrator shall accept public comments on such proposed regulations for a period of not less than 60 days.
Passed the House of Representatives May 8, 2018.
|Attest:||karen l. haas,|