For the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), 2013 was a year of commemoration and reflection. In October, NWBC commemorated the 25th anniversary of the passage of H.R. 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, which created the National Women’s Business Council and the Women’s Business Center Program while also prohibiting gender-based discriminatory lending practices. Prior to H.R. 5050 merely 25 years ago, some states required women entrepreneurs to have a male relative co-sign a business loan. As women entrepreneurs move into the next quarter of a century there’s much work to do in continuing to identify and remove barriers.
Looking ahead in 2014, the National Women’s Business Council has identified 4 main pillars of focus to advance women entrepreneurs, including: access to capital, access to markets, job creation and growth, and data collection. The NWBC released its annual report to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration outlining pivotal policy recommendations to increase economic gains for women entrepreneurs. Women’s economic impact is significant; getting more capital in the hands of women entrepreneurs will grow the economy and result in more competition, choice, and quality in the marketplace.
Access to capital continues to be a critical issue for women entrepreneurs. Numerous studies indicate women rely heavily on personal savings to start a business, a tendency that is associated with lower amounts of start-up capital. The NWBC will focus its 2014 research efforts on the issue of undercapitalization as an impediment to starting and growing a business.
Within NWBC’s annual report is the groundwork for policy makers, the private sector, and the women’s business community to act strategically towards advancing women business owners. As women-owned businesses continue to be the fastest growing sector in the small business community, innovative policies must be put in place to support women’s impact in shaping the national economy. Armed with key research findings, the NWBC is excited to continue working towards our common goal of advancing the agenda of women entrepreneurs and broadening the pathways to success for women business owners across America.
For more insight on advancing women entrepreneurs view the National Women’s Business Council’s annual report at www.nwbc.gov.
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