WASHINTON, D.C., October 25, 2019 – As part of its ‘Women in Small Business Roundtable Series,’ the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) held a roundtable in Nampa, Idaho on October 9, 2019, with U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), NWBC Chair Liz Sara, Council Members Jessica Flynn (Boise-based, Founder & CEO of Red Sky), Barbara Kniff McCulla (Owner of KLK Construction), and Bonnie Nawara (Past Chair of AWBC), and local women business owners. The discussion explored the unique challenges for rural women entrepreneurs and sought to identify untapped opportunities for growth.
The event began with NWBC Chair Liz Sara welcoming the roundtable participants and attendees. “NWBC is honored to be here at Idaho’s new Women’s Business Center. NWBC was established by the same legislation that established the Women’s Business Center program. Each year since our existence, we have advocated for the importance of this program and are pleased by its expansion to Idaho.” She continued, “This year, through the work of the Rural Subcommittee, led by Jessica Flynn, we focused on the importance of women’s business centers as a central resource for women entrepreneurs in rural communities.”
NWBC Council Member Jessica Flynn, a local of Boise, then introduced U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), who provided a brief legislative update and opened the conversation to the local business owners. The Senator noted that Idaho ranked 3rd in the nation for fastest growth of small business in 2018 and highlighted the economic impact of the female founders. He reiterated his commitment to empowering rural women entrepreneurs in the region.
Multiple participants referenced the absence of affordable childcare options in the state and suggested that this void prevents many women from launching new business ventures or entering the workforce altogether. Historically, Nampa has been known for its strong agricultural base. However, the city also has a large and diverse manufacturing and retail base and has gained strength from the technology industry.
A representative from the Small Business Administration recognized the cyclical nature of agriculture businesses and advised that the best time to get a line of credit is when you do not need it. He also highlighted SBA’s LenderMatch program, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders.
The founder & CEO of an e-commerce apparel brand revealed the toll that subpar infrastructure took on her bottom line. “I spend more upgrading my city block than my buildings cost me,” she revealed.
Broadband was also a major topic of discussion. A recent ranking of fixed-broadband download speeds listed Idaho as the fourth slowest state in the country. The same study also examined broadband speeds in America’s 100 largest cities and ranked Boise’s speed as 95th. Council Member Jessica Flynn lamented, “Broadband continues to be a major barrier to local entrepreneurial success and, even more, to scaling the economy.” She then shared the Council’s plans to examine the FCC mapping process and gather further input from women around the country on the broadband challenges that they face. Access to reliable broadband has been a recurring theme for women entrepreneurs. NWBC Council Member Barbara Kniff McCulla noted a similar situation in her home city of Pella, Iowa. She briefly discussed the ways that Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa, was working to address the issue.
NWBC Council Member Bonnie Nawara wrapped up the roundtable discussion by highlighting the overarching themes 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 Nampa area.
NWBC Chair Liz Sara goes In Depth with Dr. Bob Leonard on KNIA-KRLS to discuss the challenges and opportunities that women in rural communities face. NWBC and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)convened over 15 local women business owners in Pella, IA at Central College on Thursday, March 21, 2019.
NWBC Chair Liz Sara spoke with Journal Express about the importance of rural entrepreneurship and how NWBC provides a platform to promote opportunities for Female Founders.
The roundtable was looking to discuss challenges that rural women business owners face in setting up and running businesses. National Women’s Business Council Chair Liz Sara said that she was very happy with the turn out for the event.
“I’m very excited about the large turnout that we had from women business owners around Iowa, not just in Pella and the representation that was exhibited through the varied companies that they own and that they are currently running,” said Sara
Sen. Ernst agreed and said the event was a great way to bring together women leaders.
“The women’s small business roundtable was wonderful and a really great opportunity to meet so many women leaders throughout the community that really do have that great entrepreneurial spirit and talk about some of the challenges that they have had and … how they’ve turned those into opportunities,” said Ernst.
Sara said the roundtable was an important way to help the National Women’s Business Council better understand the unique challenges that women business owners face in rural areas.
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.
By Capital Journal
South Dakota – The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Rural Affairs, in partnership with the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), will hold a joint webinar on Wednesday, August 26, at 11 a.m. MST to discuss Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness.
The question and answer style webinar is targeted to women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural regions.
The webinar will feature Jeff Bass, a finance specialist with the SBA Office of Rural Affairs, and NWBC Council Member, Rebecca Hamilton, owner and co-CEO of Badger. With over 5 million PPP loans approved to date nationally, the presenters will provide timely insights into the loan forgiveness process and current guidance. Attendees may submit specific questions upon registering.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2019 – 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”.
Please click here to read the full report.