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Getting Involved in Public Advocacy Makes Business Sense: One Woman’s Story

Wendy Frank, founder of Accell Security, Inc. and Accell Technology Inc., became active in advocating for a change in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal contracting program after finding it an obstacle to her efforts to grow her business. By partnering with CompTIA’s public advocacy team, Frank is making her voice heard in the corridors of Congress.

Frank has been immersed in technology since her childhood, literally growing up around computers and studying Accounting and Computer Science at Alvernia College. She founded Accell Security Inc. in 2002 to combat the rise of security threats to businesses, and today, Accell helps non-profit organizations, law offices, medical facilities and other businesses maintain secure systems.

As Frank’s businesses flourished, she took extra measures to ensure growth by pursuing government contracts. Both Accell Security Inc. and Accell Technology Inc. (which Frank founded in 2010) were highly qualified for the program, but Frank kept running into the same roadblock: the companies could not participate in the Women-Owned Small Business program unless there was another female competitor. In other words, procurement officers required that at least two WOSBs compete, even in the IT field where women-owned businesses are underrepresented. In effect, Frank was unable to qualify for the program in spite of her business track record.

When CompTIA contacted members to ask for their views on ways to improve the federal contracting program, Frank did not have a background in politics but she brought this issue to the attention of the public advocacy team.

CompTIA assisted Frank in her efforts to advocate for a revision to the Women-Owned Small Business Federal contracting program, providing her with the support she needed to become involved in the political arena and advocate for a change that could help her business.

In November 2011, Frank participated in CompTIA’s Washington, D.C. Fly-in which allowed her to meet with staff from her Senators’ and Representative’s offices where she raised her concerns about the WOSB contract program. With the help of CompTIA, Frank has stayed engaged and has been instrumental in moving this issue in a positive direction.

“During this process, I’ve discovered that being an advocate for these types of issues can help your business,” Frank said. “Involving yourself in these political issues, right now, can make great changes that improve your business.”

After Frank pointed out this issue, CompTIA’s public advocacy team contacted the House Small Business Committee, which culminated in HR 4203 being introduced and voted out of committee. Legislation that would repeal this two or more requirement is also pending in the Senate, but has not yet been voted out of committee. Frank says she is going to do everything she can to support passage of these bills by both the House and Senate.