We had a great Public Meeting last week – and are excited to share a brief recap with you.

The program for this quarter’s meeting included updates from the Council by our Council Chair, Carla Harris, and a reveal of our brand new research on the growth and development in women-owned businesses. We were thrilled to be joined by special guests from the Administration, notably Maria Contreras-Sweet and Tina Tchen. Here are some of the highlights.

Opening Remarks by Administrator of the SBA

Maria Contreras-Sweet stopped by to share the very exciting news about the contracting milestone. For the first time ever, the government met its 5% goal for spend to women-owned small businesses. They also increased the number of NAICS codes eligible for the EDWOSB and WOSB set-asides. She also shared that SBA lending to women has increased by 42% and encouraged participants to check out SBA Linc.

“It’s Her Time: Women Entrepreneurs on the Rise” – A Conversation with Tina Tchen

Council Chair, Carla Harris, chatted with Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women & Girls – and a tireless advocate for women and families. They talked about the accomplishments of this Administration and the priorities in this fourth quarter. They are feeling the crunch, but are most certainly trying to make the most of their time left. A few key takeaways:

  • The 4th quarter of this Administration will include focus on increasing access to capital not just in the U.S., but globally.
  • To highlight the achievements of the Administration across the board for women and girls on May 23rd the White House Council on Women Girls along with the Department of State, Department of Labor, Tory Burch Foundation, The Ford Foundation and others will be hosting the United State of Women Summit on May 23rd. The summit’s six topics of focus will include Economic Empowerment, Health & Wellness, Educational Opportunity, Violence Against Women, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and the Leadership & Civic Engagement. Stay tuned for more to come.
  • We need to get other private capital lenders to understand the power of women entrepreneurship. Only 3% of Venture Capital goes to women, the government can make sure to parent with more venture capital and tell the story — “it’s a smart investment, a good investment to invest in women.”

Panel Discussion with Administration Officials

We concluded the afternoon with a panel of Administration officials to highlight those specific efforts to support women and their business endeavors. Vikrum Aiyer, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce discussed the tools available to minority-owned and women-owned enterprises, and the efforts USPTO has made to improve and increase gender diversity and support greater access to the patenting process. Jennifer Erickson, Assistant Director for Innovation for Growth in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy shared the efforts under this Administration to support the growing and diversifying population of women entrepreneurs, particularly women and girls in STEM. Kudos again for the first annual White House Demo Day! Jeffrey Stout, Director of the State Small Business Credit Initiative at the U.S. Department of the Treasury gave an overview of the Small Business Credit Initiative which focuses on small business lending and investing. John Shoraka, Associate Administrator of Government Contracting and Business Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration discussed the women’s access to federal procurement, 5% goal achievement and gave an update on the sole source authority. Rob Diamond, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Private Sector Engagement at the White House served as the moderator and shared that important things will happen in the 4th quarter under this Administration so stay tuned.

Research Debut

As a federal advisory council, data is at the core of all that we do. So there was really no better time than this event to unveil brand new research – the Growth and Development in Women-Owned Businesses in the US, 2002 to 2012. You can read the full report here.  Julie Weeks, President and CEO of Womenable + lead researcher on this effort, was interviewed by one of our own, Dr. Teresa Nelson. She shared insights and anecdotes about this new research, including:

  • The rate of growth in the number of women-owned businesses has revved up significantly since the recession, even as new firm formation overall has stagnated.
  • Women of color now own nearly four in ten women-owned businesses.
  • Most women-owned firms are – and have always been – quite small: 9 in 10 generate under $100,000 in revenues and 9 in 10 have no employees.

It was a packed agenda, but how else would you celebrate Women’s History Month?!

Special thanks again to the White House Council on Women and Girls for making this special event possible, to the Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet for stopping by, to Julie Weeks for joining us, and to Vikrum Aiyer, Rob Diamond, Jennifer Erickson, John Shoraka, and Jeffrey Stout for participating in the panel. Again, the full live stream is posted online at https://youtu.be/80RxISsCUIM