HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – The Women’s Business Center of North Alabama is asking leaders to support a new bill that would improve funding and contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses in the U.S.
Introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to the Legislature last week, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014 said the number of female-owned businesses in the U.S. jumped by 59 percent between 1997 and 2013, compared to 41 percent for all new businesses across the country.
Although women-owned companies make up about 30 percent of all U.S. businesses, the bill said these ventures only employ 6 percent of the American workforce and receive 4 percent of federal contact funding.
“The bill addresses three critical issues facing women entrepreneurs: access to capital, access to counseling, and access to the federal market,” said WBCNA Chief Executive Officer Joanne Randolph in a statement. “We have advocated strongly on all three.”
The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014 would nearly double funding for Women’s Business Centers from $14.5 million annually to $26.75 million. It would also increase microlending capacity from $5 to $7 million and jumpstart the number of federal contract opportunities for women-owned businesses.
Click here to read the full bill.
Katie Vlietstra, vice president of government relations and public affairs for the National Association for the Self-Employed, said the bill is a “good first step forward in tearing down” the barriers female entrepreneurs sometimes face.
“Women are a sizable and leading group in not only the American workforce, but also a powerful demographic among small business owners,” she said. “It is unfortunate that women face multiple roadblocks when it comes to succeeding in the small business community. From access to capital to securing contracts to simply getting business advice, women continue to encounter too many obstacles at every turn.”
The WBCNA is asking supporters to like or follow the Senate Small Business Committee’s Facebook and Twitter pages, where updates on the bill will be posted.
“From there, please be sure to re-tweet, share on Facebook, create a post regarding the bill, and share with your networks/members today to spread the word and to drum up support for this great effort,” Randolph said.
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