Recently in the Policies Affecting Women Category

The dawn of the New Year provides an excellent opportunity to review the successes of 2014, and to assess areas of improvement for 2015. The National Women's Business Council's annual report, "Building Bridges: Leveraging Research and Relationships to Impact the Business Climate for Women" does exactly that, providing us with an overview of women entrepreneurship, including a summary of key research findings, policy recommendations and the Council's agenda in the year ahead. The report rests on NWBC's four pillar platform- access to capital, access to markets, job creation and growth, and data collection- and confirms what many of us already know, that the full economic participation of women is essential to economic growth in the U.S. 


Access to capital remains a key issue for women business owners. In order to better understand the ways in which women business owners accessed capital, NWBC worked with the SBA to analyze loan data, partnered with Walker's Legacy to host a round-table specific to women of color and access to capital, and commissioned new research on under-capitalizationThe research shows a direct link between access to capital and revenue generation, with men starting their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women, a disparity which increases among firms with high growth potential. The report highlights crowdfunding as an important new resource for women business owners seeking capital.

The NWBC also focused much research on access to markets for women business owners, using WIPP's own ChallengeHER campaign as a building block for identifying best practices in government procurement. Thanks to the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, more and more federal contracts are being awarded to women owned small businesses. However, disparities still remain in regard to award amount between WOSBs and non-WOSBs, most likely as a result of different contract types. 

In 2013, the Council called for an increase in the number of women owned or led firms in incubators and accelerators in an attempt to increase job creation and growth. In 2014, the Council honored this commitment, through championing the SBA's Office of Investment and Innovation's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, convening a public meeting on STEM, entrepreneurship, and women, and commissioning new research on micro-businesses and accelerators and incubators. Research shows that women with dependent children are less likely to add additional employees, indicating that child care burdens are still a significant obstacle to the growth of women owned small businesses. 

The report concludes with a number of different, concrete strategies for each pillar, building off of past success while also acknowledging areas for improvement. Among many other things, the NWBC recommends: tax credits for investors who finance women-owned and led firms; creating opportunities to align women business owners with government and corporate procurement officials; improvement of the availability and timeliness of government and private sector data on women owned small businesses; the implementation of the sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (yay!). 

The National Women's Business Council is a crucial resource for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The research and recommendations they provide acts as a road map for the success of women entrepreneurs, success which is reached through hard work, partnerships and persistence. 2014 was a great year for women entrepreneurs, and 2015 looks just as promising. 


Women Impacting Public Policy joined a recent White House Business Council Meeting to share how various policies are affecting women business owners across the country. The meeting included several White House staff along with top officials from the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration.

 

At the meeting, WIPP stressed the importance of capital access as the critical issue for women business owners looking to start and grow their companies, and highlighted WIPP's 2013 Annual Survey finding that it takes an average of two attempts for women business owners to secure funding.

 

Commerce Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, Mark Doms, agreed that the economy would be best served by giving business owners more access to capital. The Commerce Department's new strategic plan, America is Open for Business, reflects that priority by stressing innovation and investment.  

 

SBA Associate Administrator for Capital Access Ann Marie Mehlum concurred, saying her office will continue to identify opportunities to expand access while strengthening SBA's already available capital access programs. She went on to highlight the 7(a) loan program, which supported more than $15 billion in small business loans in FY13.

 

The meeting closed with a discussion of how trade can be used to fuel growth for businesses of all sizes. The Administration agreed there is a need for streamlining and simplification in exporting as well as engaging the women's business community on the value of selling goods and services abroad. Both of those priorities are at the front of WIPP's ExportNOW program that encourages women entrepreneurs to grow beyond our borders.

 

These meetings are open dialogues with policymakers, giving WIPP's advocacy team the opportunity to share ideas and concerns raised by WIPP's members.

A Historic Day for California Women

1:56 PM September 3, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013 was a historic day for women in California as it was 93 years ago on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. On this day, SCR 62 (authored by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Chair of the Women's Caucus, was up for a vote in the Senate- and it passed with a 30-6 vote, well over the 21 required votes. The Resolution will go to the Assembly within the next few weeks and if it passes, California will be the first state to urge its publicly held corporations to place women on board. The legislation encourages publicly held companies with corporate boards of nine or more to fill at least three of those sites with women within the next three years. Boards with fewer than five members are urged to name at least one woman.


This resolution is not a mandate. Senator Jackson called it a "symbolic show of support" intended to raise awareness and start the discussion in California. Please click here for more information on this issue and UC Davis research on female representation in corporate settings. We will need the full support of our California women to help usher the Resolution through the Assembly. If you are interested in helping advocate this issue, please email WIPP, Jessica at jdoles@wipp.org.

 By Lynn Bunim

 

"The prevailing myth that only large companies can and should export has been loudly debunked: a 2010 survey showed that small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) accounted for an overwhelming 98 percent of all exporting companies," wrote Barbara Kasoff , President and CEO, WIPP in the most recent edition of enterprisingWomen, (Vol.14, No. 1, 2013).  Exporting SMEs outperform their competitors with higher revenues, faster revenue growth and higher labor productivity.

 

Exporting offers tremendous potential and opportunity for millions of women-owned businesses.  Is it time to consider your business for exporting?  Are you ready to take your spot in the global marketplace?

 

Last year WIPP launched its program ExportNOW to educate women entrepreneurs about the vast potential for enterprise that exists beyond our borders.  To accomplish this, WIPP partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative as a 2012 Commitment to Action, with a commitment to open the doors to exporting for more than 5,000 women entrepreneurs.  For more on our partnership, please read the press release here.

 

WIPP has developed a series of webinars to support its participation in ExportNOW.  Our first webinar, "Export 101," with the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, was an important step in education women-owned businesses about the basics of export.  Our second webinar featured Dario Gomez, associate administrator at the Small Business Administration's Office of International Trade.  You can find the presentations as well as a podcast of the webinars here.

 

Please click here for a calendar of upcoming webinars and/or register.

 

For more information, please visit our ExportNOW page or call WIPP, (415) 434-4314.

 

 

By Cielo Villasenor

 

WIPP members are fortunate to have such a strong support of true advocates and allies on Capitol Hill and within the administration.  It is those allies who recently made one of the most significant leaps forward in women-owned small business policy that we have seen in a decade.  We could not think of a better time to celebrate the leaders who advance the growth of women entrepreneurs than during Women's History Month and the 25-year anniversary of the passage of the Women's Ownership Act, H.R. 5050.

 

As a way to say "thank you" to the policymakers directly responsible for lifting the award caps on the Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program, WIPP is hosting a luncheon with guests to include celebrated advocates in the administration and from several federal agencies as well as Members of Congress and their staff.

 

While it is not too often that the passage of one single provision merits a celebration, this one directly advances the success of women's greatest vehicle to doing business with the world's largest consumer - the federal government.

 

The luncheon will also serve as the official launch of a major new campaign and partnership for WIPP.  The new initiative is aimed at getting more women engaged in federal contracting, and more contracts awarded through the WOSB program.  It will bring education and training to women business owners across the country.

 

"We look forward to kicking off the year of the woman entrepreneur by formally thanking those who helped make the single most important program to American's women contractors a success," said WIPP President Barbara Kasoff. "If there were ever a time to celebrate our advocates in D.C. - it is now."

 

This event will be held at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill .  To receive priority notification for registration, please email Erika Wilhelm at Ewilhelm@wipp.org.

 

 

 

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