ByNWBC Council

RECAP: Women in Small Business Roundtable

Austin, TX



WASHINTON, D.C., July 30, 2019 – As part of its ‘Women in Small Business Roundtable Series,’ the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) held a roundtable in Austin, Texas, on July 25, 2019, to better understand the specific challenges and opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship by delving into the topic of access to capital, with a specific focus on issues related to credit access and venture capital. Austin has become the start-up and entrepreneurship capital of Texas and is the second-best city in the country in terms of economic clout for women in business according to the 2018 AMEX State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

The event began with NWBC Chair Liz Sara welcoming the roundtable participants and attendees, including investors, lenders, and various business sectors from technology to aerospace to health. NWBC Council Member Rebecca Contreras, a local of Austin, then prompted the women entrepreneurs to share their experiences seeking funding to start and grow their businesses. Contreras noted that “women only receive 4.4% of small business commercial loans, despite the fact that women pay back their micro loans at a 97% rate of return” and asked the lenders in the room to shed light on this phenomenon. All the participants recognized the difficulties of raising traditional forms of capital. Some recounted being questioned by lenders differently than their male counterparts. One participant shared that while “men can get an investment on an idea, women need to go in with their product already built and show some sales first.”

NWBC Women in Small Business Roundtable hosted at the Riveter: Austin

The importance of mentorship and a support network, often found in other women’s business organizations, was prominent themes around the table. A high-growth business owner and advocate for female entrepreneurs recommended that other female founders assemble their own industry specific advisory committee to assist them in connecting with other founders in their industry. “Don’t be afraid to inconvenience people,” she said. Another business owner, who was initially turned away by a traditional lender, found support from her local chamber of commerce. After building a network within her chamber community, she was able to return to that same lender and acquire capital. She is now nationally recognized for her cupcakes.

NWBC Council Member Vanessa Dawson, CEO of the Vinetta Project, a capital platform that sources, funds, and supports promising female founders, shifted the discussion toward angel investing and venture capital. She noted the Pitchbook statistic that female founders received only 2.2% or $2.88 billion of the total $130 billion in VC funding in 2018.

She asked the roundtable participants to share some of their successes pitching their business ideas as well as some of their pitfalls. One woman founder shared that despite having orders from a high-end retail company, she was initially unsuccessful in acquiring venture capital.

NWBC Chair Sara wrapped up the roundtable discussion and reiterated the Council’s commitment to employ the feedback received as a springboard for the Council’s policy recommendations to Congress, the President, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. The Council appreciates the participation from diverse business owners and stakeholders in the Austin area.

For more information about upcoming events, please visit the NWBC website.

Graphic recording completed by Sharon Zeugin


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ByNWBC Council

NWBC Welcomes Two New Members


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2019 — The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) announces two new Council members.

“I’m pleased to welcome Rebecca Hamilton, CEO of Badger, and Sandra Robert, CEO of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS),” said Liz Sara, NWBC Chair. “As a full Council, we are ready to tackle action-based results while bringing the voices of  women-owned businesses to the White House, Congress, and the Small Business Administration.” 

Rebecca Hamilton is a second generation owner and co-CEO (Collaborative Executive Officer) at Badger, a natural and organic personal care products manufacturer known for its unique company philosophy, pioneering family-friendly benefits, and community engagement.

Sandra Robert is the CEO of AWIS, a national professional association that champions the interests of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across all disciplines and employment sectors. 

With the addition of these trailblazers, NWBC will continue 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.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Member Jess Flynn on ABC Channel 6

National Women’s Business Council member empowers women in the Treasure Valley

ByBarbara Kniff-McCulla

To Spur Rural Growth and Job Creation, Support Women Entrepreneurs

By: Barbara Kniff-McCulla/ NWBC Council member

The U.S. Small Business Administration has hosted National Small Business Week in communities across the country for more than 50 years. With more than half of Americans either owning or working for a small business, National Small Business Week provides a great opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the backbone of America’s economy.

Small business owners have a passion for making it happen, and there isn’t much that can get in their way. Rural women’s entrepreneurship is a job creator, a means for local economic development, and a source of empowerment for women seeking stability and independence.

Read the full article in the Des Moines Register HERE

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 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 or call 202-205-3850.

ByNWBC Council

NWBC Announces Its New Council Members


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.