Legislation Introduced to Remove Major Barriers Facing Women Entrepreneurs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO REMOVE MAJOR BARRIERS FACING
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 31, 2014) — Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) applauds legislation introduced today by Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that makes significant improvements to the business environment for women entrepreneurs.
The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014, S. 2693, would address major issues plaguing women business owners in the realm of federal contracting, access to capital, and access to business counseling and training. This legislation follows last week’s report on women’s entrepreneurship, 21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship. The report was released in conjunction with a Committee hearing in which WIPP National Partner Lynn Sutton testified on the need for such legislation.
“For over a decade WIPP has advocated public policy that would tear down the barriers facing women business owners,” commented Barbara Kasoff, president of WIPP. “This legislation will address key issues impeding the success and growth of women entrepreneurs, improving their ability to access capital and the federal marketplace.”
This bill includes other WIPP-supported legislation, S. 2481, which would provide sole source authority in the WOSB Procurement Program. Currently, agencies must find multiple women-owned small businesses interested and capable of competing for a contract before the WOSB program can be used. Sole source authority removes this burden, making it easier for agencies to award contracts to women through the program.
Additionally, S. 2693, enhances the SBA’s Microloan program by allowing lenders in the program to increase overall lending capacity to $7 million and by offering more flexible loan terms, improved technical assistance, and reallocation of resources to high performing lenders. This legislation also makes the SBA Intermediary Lending Program permanent, providing greater access to capital for women-owned businesses.
Finally, the legislation modernizes the Women’s Business Center Program, which supports a network of more than 100 counseling centers nationwide. It increases funding of the program from $14.5 million per year to $26.75 million and increases the maximum grant award from $150,000 to $250,000. The bill also requires that a formal set of program guidelines be issued and reinstates the SBA’s authority to waive the federal matching requirement—a hindrance common to many centers growth.
WIPP strongly supports S. 2693, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014, and looks forward to working with Senator Maria Cantwell to move this legislation forward when the Congress returns from recess in September.
Women Impacting Public Policy (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.