WIPP 2015 Recess Packet
Friday, July 31, 2015
August Recess Packet 2015
Why You Need to Be an Advocate
WIPP advocates for women entrepreneurs everyday. On Capitol Hill and in the Administration, WIPP is active in promoting our agenda. But any successful advocacy effort also includes legislators hearing their constituents’ opinions on the issues. That is where you come in.
As women entrepreneurs, you are affected by government policy everyday – from limits on capital access, to entering the federal market or simply paying your taxes. WIPP aggregates those concerns and issues to drive our policy priorities. While WIPP’s government relations team will continue to advocate for the nearly ten million women business owners nationwide, your engagement with lawmakers in your home districts and states can make all the difference.
Critical to our efforts is on-the-ground engagement of the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Small Business Committees. If you live in one of these Districts/States we greatly encourage you to raise WIPP’s issues with Members that oversee much of our policy agenda:
House Small Business Committee
Chair Steve Chabot, OH-1
Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez, NY-7
Senate Small Business Committee
Chair David Vitter, LA
Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen, NH
For 2015, WIPP is focusing its recess efforts on the issue of access to capital. Accordingly, our goals for these meetings are for members to:
1) Introduce legislators to WIPP and explain why you are a member
2) Talk about your experiences as a woman business owner accessing capital
3) Encourage Members to review WIPP’s Access to Capital Platform and consider championing ideas that resonate with them
The House of Representatives and the Senate are both in recess for the month of August. During this time, Members go back to their Districts or States to meet with constituents. Members want to learn what issues matter to their constituents and how they can support their constituents when they go back to Congress.
How to Reach Your Legislator
The best way to make sure WIPP’s message is heard nationwide is to schedule a meeting with your Representative and Senators through their local district office, but other options also exist.
- Click here to find your Representative and click here to find your Senators. There is a tool that allows you to enter your zip code to determine your Representative. Each Member will have a website with the locations of District/State offices.
- Schedule a meeting with your legislators. Call your district office as early as possible and be flexible. You may have to make more than one call to arrange this meeting.
- Alternative to one-on-one meetings is attending District/State town hall meetings. These are open to the public and can generally be found on the Members website or by contacting the office. If you attend one of those events, you can request a brief introduction with the Member.
- Finally, social media, including Twitter and Facebook, are brief, but well-used avenues for communicating with legislators. Committees also have social media accounts where comments can be directed.
Making the Meeting Valuable
The goal of Congressional outreach during recess is to amplify the message WIPP builds in Washington. Start by introducing yourself, your business, and WIPP. As mentioned, this year’s focus is on access to capital – talk about your experiences in that area. Talking points on the issue (and why WIPP is focused) are on the next page. Some good meeting tips:
- Keep It Simple: Members will likely not know the ins and outs of our policy requests. Likewise, you are not expected to be a policy expert.
- Keep It Concise: These meetings tend to be short. Know what you want to say and focus on the “ask”: Review WIPP’s Access to Capital Platform (next page) and consider championing some of the policy proposals.
- Have Your Handout: Leave behind the 2015 Policy Priorities with the office. This has additional information staff will want.
- Follow Up: After the meeting be sure to send the appropriate thank you note along with any requested follow up items (e.g. information on your business or WIPP).
Talking Points on the Issue of Access to Capital
In June WIPP released its Access to Capital Platform, Breaking the Bank: Women Entrepreneurs and the Need for Capital. The platform includes eleven reforms that span over three themes: Changing the Capital Infrastructure, Supporting Small Lending Institutions, and Strengthening Government Investment.
The goal for these meetings is to introduce Members WIPP, identify access to capital as a key issues, and encourage them to identify policies they could champion or support within the platform.
The talking points below give an overview of why access to capital is so critical for the women’s business community.
Why Access to Capital is WIPP’s Priority
Capital is the lifeline of business. The ability to secure capital is often the determinant of an entrepreneur’s opportunity to start or grow a business.
Despite making up one-third of business owners, generating more than $1 trillion annually in receipts, and growing at 1.5 times the rate of average businesses, accessing capital for women entrepreneurs continues to be difficult:
- In 2013, fewer than one in three loan applications for women-owned firms were approved.
- Last year’s Senate report on women entrepreneurs found that women only receive 4% of all commercial loans.
- WIPP’s annual membership survey regularly finds that women must make multiple attempts to secure bank loans or lines of credit – with a full 40% never succeeding.
WIPP surveyed the landscape seeking policy-based solutions to spur lending. Details on each of these are in the platform, however, simply raising the idea is the end goal of the meeting.
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