To the President, Members of Congress SBA Administrator and the Women’s Business Community:
I am pleased to submit, on behalf of its members, the National Women’s Business Council’s Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2003.
The Council is honored to be the Federal Government’s only independent advocate for this Nation’s 10.1 million businesses with 50% or greater women’s ownership.
The unprecedented growth of women-owned businesses during the past decade continues its historic run. Privately-held businesses in which women are majority owners – 6.2 million firms – are growing in number at twice the national average, and adding jobs at 1-1/2 times the national average.
Overall, businesses in which women own at least 50% of the company generate $2.3 trillion in annual revenues and provide jobs for 18.2 million people. Still, there remain numerous obstacles to sustained vitality. Foremost among them are: the escalating cost of small business health insurance, barriers to accessing capital and difficulty entering government markets.
As I look back over this past year, I am gratified that the National Women’s Business Council continues to identify, research and advocate for those issues which are most influential to the success of women business owners. Not only have we found new and innovative ways to bring critical facts and research to policy discussions but, most importantly, we have achieved our objective to engage more and more women business owners in those discussions.
During the past year, the National Women’s Business Council has published a number of research studies, Issue in Brief papers, and other publications on topics of significance to the women’s business community, which are summarized in this report. We have expanded our communications outreach activities and launched initiatives to help further connect the women’s business community to current public policy debate. Of special note are the following:
And we have only just begun. Research is a vitally important tool for both program development and public policy action and in the coming months, the Council will publish several important studies, including:
New in this year’s Annual Report, is a compendium of notable research projects published over the past12monthson topicsrelatedtothestateofwomen’sentrepreneurship.Asthestudies confirm, women-owned businesses are a vital force for growth – making significant contributions to the well-being of our economy.
I look forward to continuing our good work in the year ahead. On behalf of all the members of the National Women’s Business Council, I commit the Council to carrying out its mission to promote bold initiatives, policies and programs for women’s business enterprises.
Marilyn Carlson Nelson
Chair, National Women’s Business Council