WIPP Works in Washington: Primary Thoughts on the 2016 Election

AnnSullivan new

By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Government Relations

Does anyone else think the 2016 Presidential election has been going for ages?  It sure seems like that to me, but admittedly, it has been one of the most entertaining primaries in recent history.  The 24-hour news cycle has kept us up to the minute with every speech, gaff, or barb traded by the candidates. We’ve seen our fair share of debates, roundtables and town halls while watching almost daily polls track the candidates as their support rises and falls. Luckily, today is when the rubber meets the road – at least in Iowa – where Iowans will caucus for their primary candidates. As the 2016 Presidential election ramps up, so too will WIPP’s advocacy efforts. Why? Because we are not cynical about democracy and the process necessary to achieve it. We believe engagement is the mechanism by which to change the trajectory of our country’s future.

WIPP has made addressing the needs of women entrepreneurs a top priority for elected officials and our advocacy has resulted in successes for women business owners. Just look to 2015 for proof that women business owners have a seat at the table. We worked for implementation of sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Program– a tremendous step forward for women-owned businesses seeking to win federal contracts.  The Senate Small Business Committee passed the first reauthorization for the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program in nearly a decade, which provides important business support to women entrepreneurs. These are just two of the many policy victories for women entrepreneurs last year.

To ensure that we keep up that momentum and women entrepreneurs remain a top priority for our elected officials, WIPP has launched WE Decide 2016. This collaboration with Personal BlackBox (PBB) will engage women entrepreneurs seeking to affect the issues candidates discuss throughout the 2016 Election.  Ten million woman business owners, if active, are in a position to influence the direction of economic policy positions.  According to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), women-owned businesses are an economic force, contributing nearly $1.6 trillion to the annually to the US economy. The WE Decide 2016 platform seeks to engage all women business owners and associations whose members are women entrepreneurs, not just WIPP members. When women come together to share their views about the future of this country, they don’t need to be caucusing in Iowa or attending town halls in New Hampshire.  The platform will be polling women business owners on economic issues, such as access to capital, access to federal markets, tax policy and providing healthcare to employees, to mention a few topics that affect us daily.

As the primary results come in and we move on to the New Hampshire primary next week and the South Carolina primary on February 20, know that through WE Decide 2016, we have a unique opportunity to engage the voices of ten million women business owners. We certainly don’t need to agree on every issue, but I, for one, think women business owners may not necessarily possess the same views on issues that the national polls indicate.  So, lean in and let’s see the results of our engagement.  I can’t wait to see the impact all of us together can have in November.

 

 

National Women’s Business Council Releases its Annual Report

NWBC
The National Women’s Business Council has released its Annual Report, “10 Million Strong – The Tipping Point for Women’s Entrepreneurship,“ and the number of women looking to be entrepreneurs is at an all time high. Women ‘s entrepreneurship has gone from being a trend to a huge growth factor to the economy of this country. According to the report, women-led businesses are predicted to increase by more than 50% over the next five years – women are launching roughly 1,200 new businesses per day.

 

Better resources and opportunities have created an opening for women to grow their brands and build larger networks to support their products and businesses, crowdfunding being one of the best resources. Though women are still far behind men in financing their businesses, they are receiving more funds today than ever before.

 

In 2016 the Council is looking to keep the growth momentum going and will continue to research and support women business owners. Click here to view the full report online.

NWBC Survey Analysis Shows Women-Owned Business Growth Soars

women biz

The National Women’s Business Council has released its analysis of the 2012 Survey of Business Owners and while the growth rate for new businesses has slowed down, that is not the case for women-owned firms. The rate of growth of women-owned businesses is almost FOUR TIMES the rate of businesses owned by men. The results show that there were nearly 10 million women-owned small businesses in the US in 2012, a 27.5% increase since 2007. There is also a huge spike in minority women business ownership. The analysis also shows that In 2012, women-owned firms with employees paid their employees $290.5 billion- a $75.8 billion or 35.3% increase since 2007.

For more information, check out several articles written on the analysis:

Click here to view the National Women’s Business Council Fact Sheet.

National Women’s Business Council Releases 2014 Annual Report

NWBCThe dawn of the New Year provides an excellent opportunity to review the successes of 2014, and to assess areas of improvement for 2015. The National Women’s Business Council’s annual report, “Building Bridges: Leveraging Research and Relationships to Impact the Business Climate for Women” does exactly that, providing us with an overview of women entrepreneurship, including a summary of key research findings, policy recommendations and the Council’s agenda in the year ahead. The report rests on NWBC’s four pillar platform- access to capital, access to markets, job creation and growth, and data collection- and confirms what many of us already know, that the full economic participation of women is essential to economic growth in the U.S.

Access to capital remains a key issue for women business owners. In order to better understand the ways in which women business owners accessed capital, NWBC worked with the SBA to analyze loan data, partnered with Walker’s Legacy to host a round-table specific to women of color and access to capital, and commissioned new research on under-capitalization. The research shows a direct link between access to capital and revenue generation, with men starting their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women, a disparity which increases among firms with high growth potential. The report highlights crowdfunding as an important new resource for women business owners seeking capital.
The NWBC also focused much research on access to markets for women business owners, using WIPP’s own ChallengeHER campaign as a building block for identifying best practices in government procurement. Thanks to the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, more and more federal contracts are being awarded to women owned small businesses. However, disparities still remain in regard to award amount between WOSBs and non-WOSBs, most likely as a result of different contract types.
In 2013, the Council called for an increase in the number of women owned or led firms in incubators and accelerators in an attempt to increase job creation and growth. In 2014, the Council honored this commitment, through championing the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, convening a public meeting on STEM, entrepreneurship, and women, and commissioning new research on micro-businesses and accelerators and incubators. Research shows that women with dependent children are less likely to add additional employees, indicating that child care burdens are still a significant obstacle to the growth of women owned small businesses.
The report concludes with a number of different, concrete strategies for each pillar, building off of past success while also acknowledging areas for improvement. Among many other things, the NWBC recommends: tax credits for investors who finance women-owned and led firms; creating opportunities to align women business owners with government and corporate procurement officials; improvement of the availability and timeliness of government and private sector data on women owned small businesses; the implementation of the sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (yay!).
The National Women’s Business Council is a crucial resource for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The research and recommendations they provide acts as a road map for the success of women entrepreneurs, success which is reached through hard work, partnerships and persistence. 2014 was a great year for women entrepreneurs, and 2015 looks just as promising.