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NWBC Chair Liz Sara Commemorates Black History Month.

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is celebrating the anniversary of the passage of HR5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act. The passage of this legislation, and its resulting impact on women business owners, would not have been possible without some incredible, tenacious women that I am fortunate to have worked with. This week in particular has me reminiscing on the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business and how that set the stage for H.R. 5050. For me, on August 16, 1986 the Conference opened a door I didn’t realize was closed.  The biggest lesson we learned was that organizing, educating, and cultivating partnerships is paramount.

HR 5050 was historic – it only took 103 days from introduction to passage. On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 5050, making it the law of the land. This unprecedented piece of legislation gave women business owners in the United States critical resources to build their enterprises and succeed in their respective fields.

To so many women around the country, including myself, H.R. 5050 was not just another piece of legislation. It was the basis on which women gain success in business. So many women start with nothing more than a great idea. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance to turn an idea into a thriving business. The group of women who strategized, working day and night to advocate for this legislation, made their mark on history, and gave women a path to follow. When you empower a woman to succeed, the nation succeeds – and the incredible women who advocated for H.R. 5050 did just that.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to scale my business,Terry Neese Personnel Services, was lucky enough to have been appointed to numerous councils and Boards including NWBC and NAWBO, and founded the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). Thirty years after the passage of H.R. 5050, I can still tell you that what the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business taught us holds true. Women entrepreneurs don’t want a handout. Like all entrepreneurs, women want a level playing field because they can play and win on any field, at any time. Understanding the barriers to opportunity, whether that is access to capital or access to information and finding strong partners in each other is crucial to success. Thanks to H.R. 5050, women in business have excelled, continually reaching new heights, not only in the United States, but also around the world.

Serial entrepreneur Dr. Terry Neese, is a lifelong Oklahoman and has spent over thirty (30) years finding careers for men and women. She is the founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services (TNPS), National Grassroots Network, Women Impacting Public Policy and the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW).  Terry’s daughter, Kim Neese, is now the President/Owner of TNPS.

A member of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, past national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services, Dr. Neese is known as a small business expert and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30”—the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C.  She has been featured throughout several media outlets including MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, SBTV, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times.

Whether it is eating turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, standing in enormous lines for the deals of Black Friday, or spending hours in front of the computer screen on Cyber Monday, the next few days will be bustling with consumer spending. This year, Small Business Saturday on November 24, 2018 is wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Created in 2010, Small Business Saturday recognizes the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community and encourages consumers to shop local.

Over the past eight years, the network of support for small businesses has grown tremendously. Every year, local Chambers of Commerce, business associations, and other small business champions join in on an effort to promote and encourage people to shop local on Small Business Saturday. The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), the federal government’s only independent voice for women entrepreneurs, understands the importance of this day and has been committed to advocating for women-owned businesses for the past three decades. According to The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, this year there are an estimated 12.3 million women owned firms in the U.S. accounting for 40% of all businesses. That means 4 out of every 10 businesses in the United States are now women-owned. Consumers should shop local women-owned firms on Small Business Saturday to ensure continued economic growth for women entrepreneurs.

After almost eight years of celebrating Small Business Saturday, consumers have invested about 85 billion dollars in small businesses, and these firms comprise 4.8 trillion dollars of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product according to the Small Business Economic Impact Study (AMEX). The study also found that when a consumer shops at a local business, an average of 67 cents per dollar stays within the local economy unlike an average of 43 cents for large corporations. Small businesses also employ many residents from the local community, thus increasing their community’s overall economic growth through higher profits and lower unemployment. Consumers’ local impact during the busy holiday shopping season can be a game changer. Further, every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.

Although Small Business Saturday only occurs once a year, it is important to shop local all year round. Women across the country continue to break barriers and blaze trails in all industries, and NWBC encourages you to support the women pioneers in your business community. Shopping in your local community will increase revenue, create jobs, and ensure that the smaller ventures have a chance to compete in the larger market. On Small Business Saturday in 2017, the sales and foot traffic for local small businesses decreased. For this upcoming Small Business Saturday on November 24, 2018 consider all the positive benefits to your community.

By: Ashley Judah, NWBC Legislative & Policy Advisor

Fighting for a Voice and Winning a Place in the U.S. Economy

After over 70 years of persistence and strategic activism, women found a voice in our political process and opened the gates to pursuing their entrepreneurial destiny. Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the states and federal government from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. Fast forward 100 years, and women comprise almost 24% of the 116th Congress—not only casting ballots for themselves but voting in representation of hundreds of thousands of citizens on our nation’s most pressing issues, including those shaping the business climate.

As women’s role in American society expanded beyond the home front, through the political process, and into the realm of enterprise, another roadblock emerged to make their presence known. The Economic Census failed to include them in its data products. The Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (SMOBE) was introduced as a special project in 1969 and eventually became a part of the Economic Census in 1972. Still five years later in 1977, the Survey of Women-Owned Business Enterprises (SWOBE) was initiated to provide crucial demographic information on female entrepreneurs. SMOBE and SWOBE were eventually combined to create the Survey of Business Owners (SBO).

Women business owners were barely recognized in the 1980s despite growing data pools on their contributions to U.S. commerce. A groundbreaking effort to establish credibility on a national platform began with the White House Conference on Small Business (WHCSB) in 1980. The number of women delegates participating in the 1986 WHCSB almost doubled that of the 1980 WHCSB – increasing from 16 percent in 1980 to 29 percent in 1986. The shift was a clear indication that women-owned businesses comprised the fastest growing segment of the small business community. Discussions at the 1986 WHCSB paved the way for the passage of H.R. 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 – the legislation that paved the way for the success of women’s entrepreneurship in the U.S.

H.R. 5050 eliminated state laws requiring women to have a male relative or husband co-sign a business loan, established the Women’s Business Center Program through the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the Small Business Administration (SBA), and created the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC). Now in its 31st year, the NWBC continues the charge to provide actionable policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the SBA on issues impacting women business owners and entrepreneurs.

At NWBC, we recognize that barriers remain for women’s business enterprise to reach its full potential. The Council strives to propose solutions pertaining to credit access, federal procurement, and venture capital funding for female founders. We hope to encourage women to start and grow their businesses in STEM, an industry with proven high-growth potential. We remain committed to identifying resource voids and untapped opportunities for rural women entrepreneurs. 

In celebration of Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, we pause to remember the mountains conquered, while also applauding the ever-growing contributions of women entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy. According to a January 2020 data release from the Department of Labor, the number of women on payrolls (excluding farmworkers and the self-employed) exceeded that of men in December 2019 for the first time since mid-2010. Women held 50.04% of U.S. jobs and surpassed males in the workforce by 109,000.

Now, consider entrepreneurship. As of 2019, women-owned businesses represent an estimated 42% of all U.S. businesses (nearly 13 million), employ 9.4 million workers, and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue. Over the past five years, the annual growth rate (21%) in the number of women-owned businesses has been more than double that of all businesses (9%).

Women continue to defy expectations, scale walls, and conquer unchartered territory. The NWBC is committed to highlighting these victories until women’s entrepreneurship is no longer an anomaly but a vibrant part of the mainstream.

By: Maria Rios, NWBC Council Member

Latina-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States. They drive economic development and are integral parts of their communities. According to the American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Latina businesses have grown at a rapid annual rate of 10% over the past year.

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15th – October 15th, let us shift the conversation and celebrate the contributions of the Hispanic community. Now more than ever is the time to recognize the people and businesses who are enriching main street commerce across the country.

Women business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and employees are at the forefront of this coronavirus pandemic, providing essential services that keep our communities and economy afloat.

Recent data analysis reveals that one in three jobs held by women has been designated essential as the nation has grappled since March with various restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. While many professionals have transitioned to working from home, essential workers like doctors and nurses continue to risk their lives to take care of Americans during this pandemic. Data from the American Business Survey reveals that the health care and social assistance industries are two of the top sectors for women-owned businesses.

Delivery drivers, housekeepers and sanitation workers, grocery store associates, transit workers and waste management employees also perform key tasks in keeping our communities going. They, and the companies they support, are also risking their health and safety to serve our country. In particular, Hispanic women entrepreneurs and business owners have navigated the complexities of capital and work/family conflict to carve out a crucial role during this national emergency.

When coronavirus first reared its head in the country, I immediately began preparing for its impact on my family, my business, and the families of my employees. As the Founder and CEO of Nation Waste Inc., the first multi-million dollar female Hispanic-owned waste removal company in United States history and one of the largest minority-owned companies in the state of Texas, and a member of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), I started preparing my employees and sharing best practices with other women in business. A week later, I adjusted equipment orders to fulfill the changing demand caused by the pandemic. Although 67% of our commercial clients were deemed non-essential, the demand from restaurants and churches for hand wash stations and portable bathrooms to continue serving customers, increased drastically.

Minority business owners have been hit the hardest by COVID. It can be difficult to navigate federal resources and assistance, especially during this unprecedented time. Data found that minority-owned businesses lacked relationships with SBA approved lenders, which can make it even more difficult to obtain funding. NWBC’s quick pivot to an online platform has allowed us to reach a broader audience and disseminate information on federal resources and assistance such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. Nearly 70% of all PPP loans went to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees—an important metric, since the average Hispanic-owned small business employs 1-4 people. At the onset of the pandemic, sharing resources and connecting women in business to experts was crucial. It allowed me to better prepare my employees and implement more safety precautions.

As America continues to fight this pandemic on all fronts, my hope is that people will not forget to highlight the female founders and entrepreneurs, especially Latina business owners, who are stepping up to do their part and those essential women-owned businesses who will continue to empower and support each other.

NWBC Chair Liz Sara Commemorates Black History Month.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (November 10, 2020) – This month, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) hosted a webinar in collaboration with SCORE and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Panel participants NWBC Council Member Jess Flynn, SCORE CEO Bridget Weston, and USDA Program Development Specialist Carol Wetuski answered audience questions pertaining to the top challenges faced by rural startups. This discussion also  delved into the available training and resources for women business owners and entrepreneurs in rural America.  Click here to Watch the Webinar

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