ByNWBC Council

Small Business Roundtable Series

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory council established to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the Small Business Administration. As advocates for the nation’s estimated 12.3 million women-owned businesses, NWBC is launching a series of roundtables across the country to convene women business owners and better understand the unique challenges they face and identify opportunities for growth. To better engage with the local business community, NWBC will travel to states in which NWBC Council members live and grow their business. The focus of the roundtables will be the Council’s three issue priorities:

  • Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship
  • Women in STEM
  • Access to Capital & Opportunity

March 21, 2019 ∙ Pella, IA: NWBC launched its Women in Small Business Roundtable Series in Pella, IA during Women’s History Month. This roundtable highlighted and explored the successes and hardships of the over 15 local women business owners who attended, representing various business sectors from construction and manufacturing to online floristry and microbrewing.

June 25, 2019 ∙ Baltimore, MD: In coordination with The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Conference, this roundtable will provide an opportunity to explore the rising attraction of women entrepreneurs to STEM fields. With three Council members located in the area, this roundtable is sure to provide robust conversation and feedback surrounding the opportunities and challenges that remain for women in STEM careers.

July 2019 ∙ Lubbock, TX: The State of Texas is quickly becoming a destination for innovation and entrepreneurship. Lubbock’s nickname, “Hub City,” which derives from it being a center for economic, educational, and healthcare activity, offers insight on the benefits of convening entrepreneurs from this community.

August 2019 ∙ St. Petersburg, FL:  With two Council members located on opposite coasts of central Florida, St. Petersburg provides a unique opportunity to engage with the vibrant Florida ecosystem about tools available for women entrepreneurs, with a focus on access to funding sources.

September 17, 2019 ∙ Los Angeles, CA: With a concentrated and large network of startups and technology companies located in nearby Silicon Valley, this roundtable will explore the tools and resources available to close the gender-based funding gap.   

November 2019 ∙ Boise, ID: With the recently released ‘Rural Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Opportunities’ Report, the Council is eager to engage with women business owners in more rural regions to develop sound policy and better tailored economic empowerment initiatives.

For more information or to participate in a roundtable, please contact Ashley Judah, Legislative Aide, at Ashley.Judah@SBA.gov.

ByNWBC Council

Public Meeting in New York, NY

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) held its second public meeting of Fiscal Year 2019 on May 17, 2019. This meeting was hosted by Council member, Dr. Marsha Firestone, at the Women Presidents’ Organization Headquarters in New York, NY.

Nina Roque, NWBC Executive Director, officially welcomed the newly-installed Council members and the public to the meeting. Roque also outlined her role as the Designated Federal Officer of the Council and encouraged the public to provide comments and feedback on the Council’s work.

NWBC Chair Liz Sara then provided an update on the Council’s Fiscal Year 2019 events and engagement, including a recap of the Council’s October 25th public meeting  in celebration of its 30th Anniversary. Chair Sara also outlined the Council’s three priorities for the year: Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship, Women in S.T.E.M., and Access to Capital & Opportunity. “Let’s face it: women entrepreneurs confront numerous challenges in starting and growing companies,” said Chair Liz Sara. “By concentrating our focus, energy and talent to only three areas, we have a greater chance at accomplishing needed change and making a noticeable difference. As an entrepreneur all my career, I’m interested in getting things done so we can see results that matter,” she added. She then officially announced the Council’s ‘Women in Small Business Roundtable Series’, which will convene women business owners from across the country and serve as a springboard for the Council’s policy recommendations. 

Chair Sara then introduced the three subcommittee Chairs — Marygrace Sexton (Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship), Shelonda Stokes (Women in S.T.E.M), and Rebecca Contreras (Access to Capital & Opportunity) — and invited each Chair to provide an update on their subcommittee’s identified focus areas and upcoming initiatives. Council member Jessica Flynn presented on behalf of Ms. Sexton. 

Access to capital continues to be one of the biggest barriers for women entrepreneurs. Women-led firms struggle to obtain mainstream forms of funding and compete for federal contracts. NWBC looks forward to tackling the potential benefits of alternative financing solutions, such as crowdfunding, and better tailored training for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal procurement program. Last Tuesday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced formal rulemaking to implement their statutory requirement to certify WOSB and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (EDWOSB) participating in the WOSB program. NWBC plans to study and review SBA’s rule from now until July 8, 2019, when we will be taking the issue up to a full Council vote. We are requesting that the public provide feedback to NWBC by this date, so the Council can consider those comments when reaching a consensus on NWBC’s official recommendation to SBA.

The Council will also be engaging S.T.E.M stakeholders in discussions about the state of female participation in their fields of study. NWBC is committed to increasing opportunities and resources for women-owned and women-led businesses. This new Council is particularly interested in encouraging women-led businesses with high-growth aspirations and potential. Through the ‘Women in Small Business Roundtable Series,’ the Council looks forward to focusing on S.T.E.M Entrepreneurship and the impact that women have in these fields. NWBC will be hosting a S.T.E.M. Entrepreneurship Roundtable in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Annual Conference on June 25, 2019. With three Council members located in the area, this roundtable is sure to provide vibrant conversation and feedback surrounding the opportunities and challenges that women face in S.T.E.M.

The Council also hopes to gain further insight on the unique challenges faced by rural women entrepreneurs and identify untapped opportunities for growth. The Council’s ‘Rural Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Opportunities’ Report lays the foundation for sound policy and better tailored economic empowerment initiatives in these regions. The Council intends to update and modernize their ‘Grow Her Business’ resources page housed on the NWBC website to reflect new tools available for women entrepreneurs with a specific focus on those in rural regions. A key partner of the Council’s in increasing awareness of available resources is the Women’s Business Center network. 

NWBC appreciates all who participated and made this meeting possible. Thank you to everyone on the call and in person, who was able to join in on the conversation. We look forward to reviewing your comments and continuing our advocacy on behalf of the estimated 12 million women-owned businesses in this country.

To provide any additional comments or feedback, or to participate in NWBC’s ‘Women in Small Business Roundtable Series,’ please email Ashley Judah at Ashley.Judah@Sba.gov.

ByNWBC Council

Rural Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Opportunities Report

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) has released the ‘Rural Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Opportunities’ report which offers a profile of rural women entrepreneurs and will serve as the springboard for the work and policy considerations of the Council.

“By understanding the exclusive challenges facing women entrepreneurs in rural communities, NWBC is in a better position to advocate for programs and policies that will help to reduce or eliminate those hurdles,” says Liz Sara, NWBC Chair. “Since entrepreneurship is central to rural job creation and economic growth, NWBC has made rural entrepreneurship a priority for this year”.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Public Meeting – May 17, 2019



The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) announces its first public meeting with its newly-installed Council members on Friday, May 17, 2019, from 9:30AM to 12:30PM EST at the Women Presidents’ Organization Headquarters in New York, New York.

At this meeting, the new Council will share its vision and priorities for the remainder of the fiscal year. Each of the Council’s three subcommittees: Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship, Women in S.T.E.M., and Access to Capital & Opportunity will present their current priorities and initiatives to the full body and the public. The Council’s Small Business Roundtable Series will also be announced.

The meeting is open to the public; however, advance notice of attendance is requested. To RSVP or submit a written comment, the general public should email Ashley Judah at Ashley.Judah@sba.gov with subject line – “Response for 5/17/19 Public Meeting.” The agenda will allow for 20 minutes of public statements. This time will be awarded in 4-minute increments to the first 5 people who confirm attendance and request to speak. All other submitted statements will be included in the meeting record.

A conference line will also be available for those unable to attend the meeting in person. Please call 1-208-391-5817 at the aforementioned event time. When prompted, enter conference ID number: 93326369. For more information, please visit the NWBC website at www.nwbc.gov or call 202-205-3850.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Announces Its New Council Members

MEET THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS COUNCIL

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2019 — The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) announces its new Council members.

“I’m pleased to welcome the many accomplished women business owners and several amazing leaders of national women’s organizations to the NWBC,” said Liz Sara, NWBC Chair. “We truly represent a diverse group of companies, industries and geographies as we seek to address the challenges we face in starting and growing companies. The many new voices on our Council, like the Vinetta Project’s Founder and CEO, will play an important role in communicating the needs and challenges of female founders as we formulate our recommendations to policymakers later this year. Collectively, our Council is ready to tackle action-based results. We are entrepreneurs at heart and do-ers in practice.”

For the past 30 years, the Council has served as the federal government’s only independent voice for women entrepreneurs, paving the way for increased growth in opportunity for women’s business enterprise. Today, women-owned firms comprise an estimated 40 percent of the country’s businesses, with a growth rate nearly five times faster than all other privately held businesses over the last 10 years. Without constant vigilance and continued advocacy, these gains would not have been possible. NWBC works to ensure that the voices of women entrepreneurs are heard and amplified, and continues to promote policies that provide opportunities for women business owners.

As a new Council takes shape, NWBC looks to focus its advocacy efforts on Women in STEM, Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship, and Access to Capital and Opportunity. NWBC remains committed to advocating for women in business and expanding opportunities for women business owners and their enterprises.

CLICK HERE to view the full Press Release: MEET THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS COUNCIL