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WIPP is a national nonpartisan public policy organization advocating on behalf of its coalition of 4.7 million business women including 75 business organizations. WIPP identifies important trends and opportunities and provides a collaborative model for the public and private sectors to increase the economic power of women-owned businesses.

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Last spring, the World Wide Web turned 25.  And in its relatively short lifespan, Internet access has become vital to modern life.  Numerous broadband-enabled devices have been developed, and high-speed connectivity now delivers opportunities to us that we could only imagine not long ago.  This connectivity is an important resource for small businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs, as well as for families, students, and diverse communities. 

 

For women business owners, high speed Internet has enabled them to increase efficiency of business operations, improve customer service, reduce cost, and grow by reaching new customers and markets.  The most significant impact that high-speed connectivity has provided to women is flexibility, allowing them to start and grow their businesses regardless of whether they are working from an office, their home, or while on the go.

 

These advancements and innovations happened under a light-touch regulatory approach, which was wisely adopted and adhered to for many years.  This approach increased private investment in new technology and networks, allowed innovations to thrive, and helped increase high speed Internet adoption rates.  Unfortunately, we are now facing a radical change in course by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

 

Later this month, the FCC is expected to pass burdensome net neutrality rules created in the 1930s that reclassify the Internet as a public utility. This approach is guaranteed to slow investment into our country's networks and jeopardize high speed Internet adoption at a time when encouraging both is especially vital to the success of our economy, our small businesses, and our families.  Net neutrality must be preserved, but the proposed FCC rules will do more harm than good. They call for a drastically altered course, one that would sabotage the approach that has helped the Internet thrive from the beginning. 

 

Fortunately, there's another solution. Congress can design rules that will protect net neutrality and consumers.  By offering opportunities for bipartisanship, lawmakers can work together to eliminate real threats to the Internet and to establish clear legal guidelines for the FCC.  This solution can also ensure that we get the right level of regulation, more in line with the light-touch framework that has worked so well for the past few decades. 

 

A light-touch legislative solution that prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization while also protecting consumers and avoiding legal limbo, will lead to even more innovation and investment in our country's Internet infrastructure.  It will also ensure that that all Americans, such as the fastest growing segment of small businesses - women business owners - have access to high-quality Internet and the technology they need to continue to grow our economy.

Tell Congress We Need #NetLawNow!

Below is a piece by the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC, formerly Minority Media and Telecommunications Council), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation's leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

Bad Choices Can Make Today's Internet Tomorrow's Memory.  

Here's what is happening right now to your Internet:  On Thursday, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government's independent agency that oversees the media and telecommunications industries, is about to deliver a groundbreaking decision that will affect your Internet.

Consumers need to speak up because the FCC's actions can take away the benefits that we enjoy today and in the future.

Why Should YOU Care?

  • TODAY'S INTERNET GIVES YOU POWER. You choose from all kinds of plans and combinations, from low-cost pre-paid plans, all the way up to that family plan with the special music collection you like.  Tomorrow's Internet could have all of these programs eliminated under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY'S INTERNET GIVES YOU ACCESS. We all move around the Web, accessing movies, photos, emails, and whatever we want on our smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow's Internet could negatively impact where and how we use the Internet under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY'S INTERNET IS GETTING CHEAPER. Over the last few years, the price of broadband has been decreasing.  Tomorrow's Internet costs may increase and make it harder for some of us to pay. New, unnecessary taxes and fees on services could also open up from Thursday's FCC rules, hitting you and your family in the wallet.

Today's Internet is OPEN, and after Thursday, consumers won't get anything that they didn't have - except more rules, less choice, and the possibility of higher costs.

We are running out of time, and we need everyone to join in on the conversation!
Contact your Representative so we can all enjoy the benefits of the Internet today and tomorrow!

Tweet #NetLawNow and tell your Members of Congress that you want them to act now to keep the Internet open!

Making the Affordable Care Act Work

4:09 PM February 10, 2015

Making the Affordable Care Act Work

by John Stanford, WIPP Government Relations

In Washington, there are a few axioms on which almost everyone (Rs and Ds alike) can agree. Don't hold events in August. If the meeting is important, take a cab, not the metro. Social media can be dangerous. And of course, no law is perfect.

 The biggest law of the last decade, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "ACA" or "Obamacare" or "President's Health Law", and so on) is certainly a good example of the latter. The bill's authors, President Obama, and more than just a few Congressional Republicans can agree on that. But that is no different than any other major policy change - they all undergo a period of fixes, tweaks, and changes usually addressing unintended consequences. Blame it on the nature of compromise, the mistakes of over-worked underpaid Hill staffers, or, I kid you not, typos.

 If you read recent communications (or belong to the healthcare committee!) you will see that WIPP is supporting some of these changes to benefit women entrepreneurs. In our view, Obamacare is the law of the land* - but that doesn't mean we cannot change it. Here are the tweaks we have supported recently:  

 

 

Full Time is 40 Hours - Not 30

 The Issue: Obamacare defined a full-time worker as working thirty hours a week. The definition matters for defining whether a business is exempt from the employer mandate (under 50 FTEs is exempt - yes, you have to add in part time employees, but good news: calculator). Just a refresher: if you have more than 50 FTEs and don't offer health insurance, you may face penalties.   

The Fix: The Save America's Workers Act (creative license is allowed in bill names) changes 30 hours to 40 hours for the week calculation. WIPP supports the bill.

WIPP's Position: A workweek is a workweek. Dolly Parton sang 9 to 5, not 10 to 4. The law used a thirty-hour definition in an effort to make the math (i.e. $$$) work. In addition, it was a tool to increase the number of low-hour workers that might receive employer-sponsored coverage. While increasing coverage is laudable, it should not have come at the expense of an arbitrary definition at odds with working America. The Obama Administration signaled opposition to the bill because it could undo some of the coverage gained in the past years. Whether or not this is true (wonks on both sides agree, the change would have little impact either way), the principle of the matter is simple: traditional definitions should not be upended on a whim. An American workweek is forty hours. Part-time workers, who also need coverage, should be addressed, but separately.

 


Bring Back HRAs

The Issue: Some very technical guidance from the IRS last fall removed a simple way for employers to help employees pay for health insurance premiums. Basically, a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or HRA, let the employee find their own insurance and employers could reimburse employees at their discretion.

The Fix: Two options. One, the IRS could admit this was a bone-headed move and put out new guidance. Unlikely. Two, a few bills in the past Congress would allow HRAs to be allowed for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. WIPP is working with those offices in the new Congress. More to come.

WIPP's Position: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It worked in the past, now it's broken. Someone should fix this (so to sum up: it wasn't broken, the ACA broke it, now it needs a fix). HRAs can be a good part of a solution that gets more people covered. Often business owners look for the path of least resistance - for some businesses, HRAs can be that path. While WIPP reviews every comma of legislation before endorsing, WIPP would likely back legislation that made this change.

 

Expand Eligibility for the Small Business Tax Credit

The Issue: One of the small business carrots in Obamacare was the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. But this carrot came with a lot of strings attached (mixed metaphors?). Currently, the tax credit is only available to businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000. Moreover, to receive the full tax credit, which covers up to 50% of employer-paid premiums, businesses must have 10 or fewer employees and average wages of up to $25,000.

The Fix: Expand eligibility for the tax credit. Under the Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act, these restrictions would be relaxed to make businesses with up to 50 employees and average wages of up to $80,025 eligible for the tax credit. Additionally, it would extend the number of consecutive years a small business can claim the tax credit from two (current law) to three years. It also removes the requirement that employers claiming the credit contribute the same percentage of the cost for each employee's health insurance.

WIPP's Position: WIPP supports the bill. All these efforts stem from the idea that small businesses need help to provide coverage. Accessing that help should be easy, and not limited to a few businesses. We've heard from business owners nationwide saying that they simply don't qualify under these strict requirements.

In a law that in size 8 font is nearly 1,000 pages, with thousands more in regulations**, there are more than three needed fixes. These are a few where WIPP members' experiences drove us to advocate for these changes. Please let us know if any law is adversely affecting your business. It's what we are here for.

  

*The Supreme Court is currently reviewing substantial portions of the law. Depending on their decision, this could all be a moot point.


**WIPP recently visited with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office, which keeps a stack of the regulations, in case you wanted a visual

 

John Stanford is part of WIPP's Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., specializing in federal procurement and healthcare policy. When not bothering lawmakers about needed changes, he can be found in the woods at local golf courses. 

 

 


 

According to a Mobile Wireless Service Survey (PDF) released by CTIA-The Wireless Association, only six percent of Americans think the federal government should decide what new options and services wireless carriers and app providers make available, while nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say the government should be less involved in mobile broadband and Internet networks as they grow and evolve.

With the growing debate around net neutrality - whether all traffic on the internet should be treated the same way or allow service provides the ability to charge to prioritize certain internet traffic to customers - this survey, conducted by TechnoMetrica, provides some interesting insight as to how American's uniquely view mobile services.

Only 16 percent of Americans believe that government regulation should treat mobile services exactly the same as wired services. Meanwhile, 66 percent agree that any rules placed on mobile services must take into account today's wireless technologies and competitive mobile landscape as opposed to imposing new regulations on providers.

Take a look at this infographic by CTIA highlighting consumer perspectives -http://ctia.it/1u7Qh7N.

For a look at the full survey, visit http://ctia.it/1Iwh326.

 

If you are a woman entrepreneur trying to raise venture capital, this article, written by Vivian Giang, will certainly guide through the majors difficulties. It will let you succeed in the "Jungle" of raising venture capital funds, or at least it is going to give very useful advices. This article (Hyperlink) shares the stories of six women entrepreneurs who have successfully acquired funding in this complicated system.

Sure statistics prove that the method of financing still has some challenges, especially when you think that male entrepreneurs are 40% more likely to get VC funding than female founders, but change is on the horizon, and these entrepreneurs are certainly an example of tenacity and sharpness.

Get to know Nicole Sanchez, founder of luxury hair distribution company, VIXXENN ; Jessica Richman, cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a platform for microbiome sequencing; Mada Seghete, cofounder of developer tool, Branch Metrics; Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of JOOR, a private online fashion marketplace for wholesale buying; Fern Mandelbaum, entrepreneur, managing partner at Vista Venture Partners and lecturer at Stanford Business School; and Umaimah Mendhro, cofounder and CEO of VIDA, an e-commerce platform that aims to connect designers, artists, producers, and consumers.

Read the article here.


3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need to Embrace

Adaptability is the key ingredient of success for those looking to accomplish great things in today's business climate.   This is one of the key business trends highlighted by Huffington Post's blogger, Doug G. Sandler in his ARTICLE : 3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need To Embrace. We live in a business world that is moving faster than it ever has and adaptability seems to be the only acceptable policy for an entrepreneur, even though for many it will mean changing the status quo of how you operate, and for others - the newbie business owners - time and resources will need to be spent creating and improving their networks and key resources. Either case, you should embrace these three trends to make your own way towards success.


  1. The Internet is here to stay! The most successful businesses of tomorrow will be able to master technology but still provide a human touch as well. 

  2. Content is king.  Blogging, writing and sharing content with existing customers and potential customers is vital. Be an expert in your industry, stay connected to your market and provide content that is relevant, interesting and easy to read.

  3. Adapt or perish. You cannot ignore business trends or your business will be left behind.


Read more here.






 

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