DelBene Joins Reps. Chu and Maloney in Introducing Legislation to Support Women-Owned Small Businesses
At a time when women make up half of the workforce, women-owned businesses still face huge challenges.
Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Judy Chu (CA-27), and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced legislation aimed at giving women entrepreneurs equal treatment when it comes to starting and growing their own businesses. The “Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014” would improve access to lending and increase business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs, and give women-owned businesses the same level of access to federal contracts as other disadvantaged groups. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate in July.
“We are making progress, but we know that many women-owned businesses still do not have equal access to economic opportunity,” said U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), a former businesswoman and entrepreneur. “We need to do more to advance an economic agenda that supports women, both as business owners and as workers. I am proud to introduce this bill and I will continue fighting for policies that make sure we build an economy that works for everyone.”
“For the first time in nearly a decade, the federal government met its 23 percent contracting goal for small businesses last year. However, the federal government failed to meet its modest 5 percent contracting goal for women-owned small businesses,” said Rep. Judy Chu. “This is concerning when you consider women make up more than half of the U.S. population and a third of all businesses nationwide. The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act will provide more opportunities for women-owned small businesses in accessing federal contracts, which will help women earn more for themselves and their families while creating jobs for our economy.”
“Women in the Hudson Valley are more likely to be the breadwinners, caretakers, innovators, and leaders at home and at work – providing the tools women need to start and grow their own businesses strengthens our economy and our communities. When women have the tools they need to succeed in their homes and workplaces, our communities and economy succeed,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18).
“We need to work to close the gender gap and ensure women entrepreneurs get tools they need to spur economic growth,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “I applaud Congresswoman DelBene’s leadership on this critical bill to ensure that women-owned businesses have more opportunities to create jobs in their communities.”
The legislation adopts recommendations from a recent Senate Small Business Committee report, 21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship, that showed significant barriers for women looking to start or grow their own business. The report highlighted how women-owned businesses represent a $3 trillion economic force and support 23 million jobs, but still face significant barriers compared to their male-owned counterparts. Women entrepreneurs account for just $1 out of every $23 in small business lending, despite representing 30 percent of all small companies. They are also more likely to be turned down for loans or face less favorable terms than men.
To address those gaps, the legislation would:
The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act has received strong support from key stakeholders including Women Impacting Public Policy, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the Association of Women’s Business Centers, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Venture Capital Association, and 32 community development organizations from 20 states.