The National Women's Business Council is a bi-partisan Federal Government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Interagency Committee on Women's Business Enterprise on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Members of the Council are prominent women business owners and leaders of women's business organizations.
The mission of the Council is to promote bold initiatives, policies and programs designed to support women's business enterprises at all stages of development in the public and private sector marketplaces.
The Council has established public/private sector partnerships to promote an economic environment conducive to business growth and development for women-owned businesses and has focused on the following key areas of program and policy development:
To the President and Members of Congress:
We are pleased to transmit the Annual Report of the National Women's Business Council ("NWBC" or "Council") for the year 2000. This year, the Council focused on procurement opportunities, access to capital and data collection as key issues where changes were needed to increase opportunities for women. In its efforts, the Council has made collaboration and partnership vital to achieving its goals. Through the prestigious organizations that serve on the Council and our public sector partner, the Interagency Committee on Women's Business Enterprise ("IACWBE"), we have established a strong and effective communications conduit to amplify the voices ofwomen entrepreneurs.
Our annual report contains a wealth of information on the three key issues identified above. For example, the report discusses our effort with the Milken Institute, where the Council examined the best practices initiated by government, non-profits and financial institutions to address the demand for credit from one of the most dynamic new market sectors --women-owned businesses. Further, the report explains the Council's initiative with the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, where we examined the characteristics, contributions, and challenges of women-owned businesses in the Federal procurement arena. In addition, the report details the Council's and the IACWBE's case study of successful public and private sector initiatives fostering the growth of women's business ownership. Finally, the report discusses the Council's and IACWBE's development of an interactive database containing information about and for women-owned small businesses. This database, www.WomenBiz.gov. is intended to serve as the official gateway to over 100 procurement and acquisition sites hosted by various Federal departments and agencies for women-owned businesses selling to the Government.
The report also contains recommendations for legislation and administrative actions that the Council considers appropriate to promote the development of concerns owned and controlled by women. These recommendations stem from the Council's initiatives, policies and programs designed to foster women's business enterprises.
Despite the advancements made in the last year, the Council believes that there is still much more that needs to be done to promote and assist in the development of women-owned businesses. We look forward to working with Congress and the new Administration to continue the dialogue on the women's entrepreneurial agenda and in finding the means to implement the Council's recommendations.