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News & Press: WIPP President's Column

One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes To Policy

Monday, May 4, 2015  
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One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes To Policy

WIPP Enews Welcome - May 2015 

By Kristie Arslan, WIPP Executive Director

We are kicking off this month with the celebration of National Small Business Week to shine a spotlight on the contributions that America’s small businesses make to our economy.  WIPP continues our support by again cosponsoring the celebration, working with the Small Business Administration and other business organizations to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation that is driven by smaller companies. 

This year there is a lot to be proud of for women business owners.  Women have continued to start businesses at an impressive rate of 1 ½ times the national average.  In 2014, there are over 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.8 million people according to the 2014 State of Women Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express OPEN. 

As the number women-owned small businesses continue to increase, it becomes even more important that women entrepreneurs raise their voices to talk about the challenges they face as they start, manage and grow their companies.  When it comes to policy, one size doesn’t fit all - each industry faces their own roadblocks, but women entrepreneurs also experience different barriers than their male counterparts. 

Women entrepreneurs face a critical challenge of getting fair access to capital. According to the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, women account for only 16 percent of conventional small business loans and 17 percent of SBA loans. Women receive just 7 percent of venture funds – and the percent of female venture capitalists has actually declined from previous years.  We know that funding is critical to the startup and growth of businesses, thus not having access to capital impedes women from growing their companies.

Additionally, women face obstacles with accessing the federal marketplace via government contracting.  The highest achievement to date towards the 5 percent women-owned small business goal set by SBA is 4 percent, in fiscal year 2012. Failure to meet the congressionally set goal translates to an average annual loss of $5.7 billion in awards to women-owned small businesses.  Our hope is that we will make some inroads to reaching this goal due to WIPP-led efforts to make changes in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Program that are being implemented by SBA.

These are just two barriers women business owners deal with as they chart a course to success.  WIPP needs your help to educate policymakers and the media on issues, such as these, that are impacting your business this year. 

How can you help?  First, make sure you become part of the WIPP community by becoming a WIPP member.  By joining WIPP, you not only get access to business education and information that can help you expand your business, you also get the opportunity to affect change on Capitol Hill.  

Second, participate in the 2015 WIPP National Survey of Women Business Owners.  Every year WIPP conducts a national survey of its constituency of women business owners to gain insight and information, assess the importance of economic issues, and evaluate policy issues.  This information is shared with policymakers, the media and the public.  Please help us by taking time to respond to WIPP’s 2015 National Survey

As we take time this month to honor business owners, like you, WIPP would like to thank you for your hard work and the value you bring to your industry, your community and your family.  The WIPP team takes pride in the fact that we get to play a small part in your entrepreneurial dream and hopefully, pave the way through education and policy to make it easier for you to reach your goals.


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