WIPP Conference Impacts Senate Hearing On Release Of New Entrepreneurship Report
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Women business owners from across the country yesterday packed the U.S. Senate’s largest hearing room for official release of the “21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship” report conducted by the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The hearing was hosted by Committee Chairwoman Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Senator James Risch (R-ID).
“Today is a pivotal day for women business owners in America,” said Barbara Kasoff, president and co-founder of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). “It’s been 26 years since the landmark legislation for women business ownership, and thanks to Senator Cantwell, continuing challenges are being addressed that impede women entrepreneurs from achieving their full potential in the 21st century.”
Despite women-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of businesses and account for 30% of all U.S. businesses, the Senate committee report identified three specific issues limiting the growth of this important segment of the nation’s economy. Women still face challenges getting fair access to capital, equal access to federal contracts, and relevant business training and counseling.
In the area of capital, women business owners account for only 4% of total dollar value of small business loans and only 7% of venture funds. Since Congress established a 5% set-aside for federal contracts awarded to women-owned companies in 2000, the highest achievement has only reached 2.47 percent. Access to business training for business growth has been hamstrung by funding uncertainty since the 1990s.
“Women entrepreneurs face a 21st century glass ceiling,” said Kasoff. “WIPP applauds the hard work by this Senate Committee for recommending next steps to break this glass ceiling and confronting these challenges head-on to continue stimulate the economic recovery.”
The Senate report urges Congress to modernize and improve the SBA Microloan program to reach borrowers needing capital up to $50,000 and reauthorize the lending program to allow more women to obtain capital between $50,000 to $200,000.
A second recommendation is to enact legislation that allows sole source contracts to be awarded to women-owned businesses; and third, to modernize the Women Business Center program by increasing program funding and changing grant ceiling awards.
WIPP is hosting its 14th Annual Leadership Meeting in Washington, DC, entitled Leadership, Power and Advocacy, the two-day conference explores growth strategies in government contracting and highlights how to leverage alliance building to build brands. Attendees have the unique opportunity to engage in the public policy process, such as this Senate Small Business Committee hearing. Over 250 women business owners and WIPP attendees headed to Capitol Hill to hear the Committee discuss the state of women’s entrepreneurship.
WIPP member Lynn Sutton, CEO of Advantage Building Contractors in Atlanta, testified at the hearing highlighting the need to provide the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program with sole source authority. In addition, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank, and Nely Galan, former president of Telemundo all spoke before the Committee.
WIPP is a national nonpartisan public policy organization advocating on behalf of its coalition of 4.7 million businesswomen, 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. For more information, visit www.wipp.org.