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 increased 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.
- 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 (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.