On June 16, 2010, a summit of women business owners was held in Salem, Massachusetts, at the historic Hawthorne Hotel. Since the earliest Colonial times, Salem has been a major commercial center in a regional economy based on industries as varied as international maritime spice trade and textile manufacturing. Now, as the Greater Boston/North Shore region builds a twenty-first century economy based on tourism, technology and creativity, women entrepreneurs have the opportunity to play a key role. At this summit, women business owners on Boston’s North Shore shared their priorities, challenges and concerns to help the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) to articulate policy recommendations for the consideration of the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Hosted and facilitated by the NWBC in conjunction with the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, this summit was the ninth in a series of town hall meetings held around the country beginning in March 2007. The Salem event brought together over 200 women entrepreneurs, NWBC members, and government agency representatives for candid, lively discussions of business challenges and possible policy solutions. As at other NWBC town hall meetings before and since, a subsidiary benefit was the opportunity for business-to-business networking among the region’s women business owners.
The National Women’s Business Council is a bi-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress and the SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Council members are prominent women’s business owners and leaders of women’s business organizations. The Council’s mission is to promote bold initiatives, policies and programs designed to support women’s business enterprises at all stages of development, from start-up to success to significance.
The Enterprise Center at Salem State University (www.enterprisectr.org) acts as the North Shore’s small business incubation and growth center, helping to grow businesses at every stage of development through skill building and support, and serving as the voice of the small business community through advocacy and action.