ByNWBC Council

NWBC Council Member Discusses Access to Capital With Dolemarie Mendez

 Although NWBC has indefinitely postponed its signature #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable Series, which connects the voices of women entrepreneurs and business owners from across the country to policymakers in the Nation’s capital and helps serve as a springboard for the Council’s annual policy recommendations to Congress, the President, and the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), NWBC remains focused on carrying out its critical mission. As was reinforced at our first 2020 #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable last month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, women business owners are key to helping local and national economies recover from disasters as well as grow and thrive.

Check out this dynamic interview with Dolmarie Mendez, Co-Founder and CEO of Abartys Health at NWBC’s #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Chair Liz Sara Joins IAWA 3rd Annual Forum

NWBC Chair joins panel discussion: Empowering Entrepreneurs By Building Their Financial Savvy at the 3rd Annual General Aviation Leadership Forum

IAWA Panel – Empowering Entrepreneurs by Building their Financial Savvy from CDB PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Partners with the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) to Deliver June 17 Webinar


Temren Wroge


Washington, D.C. – (June 15, 2020)The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is partnering with the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) for a webinar on financial literacy.

The webinar will take place Wednesday, June 17, 2020 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT.

It will include an in-depth conversation with Bonnie Nawara, NWBC Council Member and CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW); Klassi Duncan, Director of Women Business Resource Center, Urban League of Louisiana; and David Ramos, Community Affairs Specialist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“This is a critical time to help underserved entrepreneurs prepare for recovery by taking full advantage of free and tested financial literacy resources,” said Liz Sara, Chair, NWBC. “As women business owners and entrepreneurs across the country adjust to the new normal, it is paramount that they are better prepared to access the funding they need to not only save their business, but also ultimately grow it.”

They will discuss the importance of the ‘Money Smart for Small Business’ program and curriculum—a collaborative business development initiative between SBA and FDIC. The participants will also examine how to leverage the curriculum, and other federal resources, to help eliminate disparities in underserved communities and build generational wealth.

“Women’s Business Centers understand the necessity of financial literacy for women business owners to be successful, and the network of 150+ locations nationwide offer a variety of programs to suit their client and community needs,” said AWBC CEO Corinne Hodges. “The Money Smart program is used by many Women’s Business Centers and provides a solid foundation for what women need in life and in business.”

This conversation will also feature remarks from Allen Gutierrez, Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). He will provide key insights on SBA’s efforts surrounding financial literacy and education and its importance in the small business community.

NWBC’s #WebinarWednesday is a monthly, multi-series webinar that serves as a platform for women entrepreneurs and business owners to connect them to key advocates, experts, and useful resources that can help bolster their knowledge and skills and elevate their entrepreneurial potential. At NWBC, we will continue to prioritize this challenge and strive to make inroads for women-owned businesses in starting and growing their business. The Council regularly convenes women business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to connect their voices to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

About National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory committee created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. To learn more, please visit:

About The Association of Women Business Centers

AWBC is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1998.  The AWBC works to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting and sustaining a national network of over 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). WBCs help women succeed in business by providing training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities to over 150,000 women entrepreneurs each year.

ByNWBC Council

Women struggle to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic

Women struggle to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic

“Something like $1.8 million in loans have been given out for amounts of $50,000 or under,” says Sara. “From what we know about the nature of these businesses, we can project and assume a lot of those smaller loans did go to women-owned businesses.”

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Public Meeting

June 9, 2020

NWBC Public Meeting Recap

Update from NWBC Chair Liz Sara:

  • On May 21, 2020, the Council released a joint statement with SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to reiterate our shared commitment to ensuring that women have increase opportunities to access capital, particularly as they navigate the pandemic.
  • We have moved our signature #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable Series, which connects the voices of women entrepreneurs and business owners from across the country to policymakers in the Nation’s capital, to a virtual setting.
  • We recently held two webinars on CARES Act funding – “Learn How to Navigate the COVID-19 Stimulus Package” and “Community Lending Key to Main Street Recovery.”
    • This programming aimed to connect women entrepreneurs to necessary resources for utilizing stimulus relief. View the recordings here.
  • NWBC Staff is working to formalize a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that we have accurate, up-to-date data tabulations of the shared landscape of women-business owners (both employer and non-employer).
  • We are monitoring legislation to reconvene the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise.
    • In light of efforts to better reach underserved communities with pandemic relief, there is no better time to revive this body and coordinate federal programming to empower women entrepreneurs.

Update from the Access to Capital & Opportunity Subcommittee:

Provided by Subcommittee Co-Chairs Pam Prince-Eason and Vanessa Dawson

  • We continue to monitor the distribution of Paycheck Protection Program funding.
    • Prioritizing the approval of CDFIs and minority depository institutions as eligible lenders will broaden the pool of capital access options and help reach small businesses in traditionally underserved communities, including urban minority and rural women-owned businesses.
  • On February 27, 2020, the Subcommittee held a roundtable in San Juan, Puerto Rico with Governor Wanda Garced Vazquez. The discussion highlighted a need for increased financial education and preparedness as well as a need to evaluate opportunity zones as a funding mechanism for women business owners.
  • We have been liaising extensively with key member agencies of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission’s (FLEC) to find ways to further leverage free federal resources.
  • We are concerned with the lack of publicly available data and tracking of female investors participating in Qualified Opportunity Funds, the number of women business owners in Qualified Opportunity Zones benefitting from infusion of capital, and/or the number of jobs created for women residing in Opportunity Zones.

Update from the Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship Subcommittee:

Provided by Subcommittee Chair Jess Flynn

  • Our primary focus areas include:
    • The economic impact of childcare availability and affordability and its burden on women’s entrepreneurship and business ownership.
    • The lack of reliable broadband in rural communities and the implications for home-based solopreneurs.
    • Prevailing challenges for Women’s Business Centers in reaching underserved audiences.
  • On May 27, 2020, the Subcommittee hosted a virtual roundtable on childcare with women business owners, organizational representatives, and government officials. Participants recognized the reliance of other sectors on this industry and highlighted the regulatory burdens for providers. Subsidies as well as grants to incentivize investments from local businesses were discussed.
  • We continue to monitor new grant placements for Women’s Business Centers to ensure that rural communities have equal opportunities. We were thrilled to see recent grants in West Virginia and South Carolina.

Update from the Women in STEM Subcommittee:

Provided by Subcommittee Chair Monica Stynchula

  • We are currently collaborating with the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII) to develop a study on ‘Women-Owned Participation in SBIR and STTR Programs.’ We look forward to the report’s July release.
    • We are evaluating the level/number of applications and awards to women-owned businesses and considering the participation of women as Principal Investigators (PIs)/technical leads. We are also examining federal best practices—specifically for SBIR/STTR, the FAST Program, and Entrepreneurial Development resources like Growth Accelerators.
  • We continue engagement with key federal agencies such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to identify major challenges faced by women in the patenting and trademark process
  • We are working to identify best practices and programs that provide resources, funding opportunities, and increased access to STEM role models and mentorship opportunities for female scientists, women business owners, and students in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate STEM education.
    • We hope to identify better ways to leverage HBCUs and MSIs.

Update from the Communications Subcommittee:

Provided by Subcommittee Chair Nicole Cober

  • Our mission is to better engage NWBC’s primary stakeholders through focused outreach and our Annual Report deliverable.
  • We aim to expand NWBC’s secondary audience, women business owners and entrepreneurs, by increasing webinar viewership and social media presence. This will allow us to elevate the voices of women in businesses and connect them to policymakers.

On January 29, 2020, the subcommittee launched NWBC’s #WebinarWednesday, a monthly, multi-series webinar that connects women entrepreneurs and business owners to key advocates, experts, and useful resources in order to bolster their knowledge and skills and elevate their entrepreneurial potential.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Council Member Nicole Cober on Cheddar TV

Creating change and Promoting Diversity in the Workplace

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Council Member Susan Duffy Featured in MassMutual

COVID-19: Women face a bigger financial challenge

“Historically, we’ve heard recessions referred to as ‘mancessions’ because they generally involved higher losses in manufacturing and construction, which still employ more men,” said Susan Duffy, executive director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, who sits on the bipartisan National Women’s Business Council. “It’s very different this time around.”

ByNWBC Council

NWBC & US Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza Release Joint Statement


Temren Wroge


Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) remains focused on carrying out its critical mission of advocating for the nation’s 13 million women-owned businesses. The Council recognizes the ongoing commitment of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in ensuring women business owners have access to opportunities to start and grow their business, and in times of crisis, to keep their business afloat. Smaller, community lenders have undoubtedly been at the forefront of providing business owners with the capital they need to keep their employees on payroll and sustain overhead costs.

For that reason, NWBC recently hosted a webinar titled ‘Community Lending Key to Main Street Recovery: Resources and Lessons Learned for Female Founders.’ The webinar included guest speakers Jill Castilla, President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma and NWBC Council Member Jessica Flynn, Founder & CEO of Red Sky, a strategic communications firm in Boise, Idaho.

Jessica shared her experience successfully applying for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) through a community bank in Idaho. As a result, she was able to continue operations and keep her 10 employees on payroll during the pandemic.  

Jill shared how she is leading the way in community lending, processing 450 PPP loans that supported local small businesses. Her commitment to breaking down barriers for women and minority small business owners has improved their ability to access capital and provided a model for other community lenders around the country.

“Saving small businesses and the jobs they support is my top priority as SBA Administrator. In the seven weeks after launching the PPP, we’ve rolled out over half a trillion in forgivable loans to more than 4.4 million small businesses and nonprofits,” said Administrator Jovita Carranza. “I remain committed to helping every small business owner – especially our minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and other entrepreneurs serving disadvantaged communities – not just survive this difficult time, but make it out the other side stronger and ready to expand.”

 “Women-owned businesses are truly the engine driving our national economy and small banks and community lenders are the lifelines they need to stay afloat during this pandemic,” said NWBC Chair Liz Sara. “We are encouraged that the SBA has prioritized smaller lenders in its implementation of the second round of CARES Act funding and look forward to working with them to continue to broaden the pool of capital access options for women.”

“Community banks are outperforming all other financial institutions in helping women-owned and minority-owned small businesses access resources to keep their doors open and be prepared for the return of the American economy,” said Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. “It is critical for our institutions to reach out to underserved communities and to stand in the gap as accessible and knowledge partners in pursuing these critical SBA resources.”

NWBC and SBA remain committed to working together to ensure that women-owned businesses continue to have increased opportunities to access capital, particularly as they navigate this pandemic. Keeping women-owned enterprises open for business is our shared priority.

About SBA: Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

About NWBC: The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), is an independent, non-partisan federal advisory committee established to provide advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the Administrator of the SBA.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Shares Recent ABS Data on Women-Owned Businesses


Temren Wroge

The U.S. Census Bureau today released new statistics from the 2018 Annual Business Survey (ABS). Since its founding in 1988, the NWBC has depended on data collection from the U.S. Census Bureau to fulfill its statutory obligation and mission. The Council must, in relevant part, promote and assist in the development of a women’s business census and other surveys of women-owned businesses. We are thrilled to share the most recent findings relating to women-owned employer firms.

Estimates show that in 2017 1.1 million employer firms were owned by women. The sectors with the most women-owned businesses included the health care and social assistance industry with 16.9% (192,159), professional, scientific, and technical services with 16.4% (185,649), and the retail trade industry with 11.7% (132,894).

 Please click HERE to view the complete release. 

ABS data accounts for only 10% of women-owned firms in the U.S., as the overwhelming majority are nonemployer businesses (those without employees). NWBC continues to highlight the need for timelier, reliable data collection efforts that ensure every woman-owned business in America is counted. We look forward to the completion of the Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D) product, which will provide a more holistic look at the landscape of women’s business enterprise.

ICYMI – In April, we announced that the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a 2020 Census!