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Five Recommendations To Help Women Entrepreneurs Succeed- FORBES

news programs and initiatives Jun 16, 2022

1. Women need coaching. The Senate should pass H.R. 6441, the Women’s Business Centers Act. Introduced by Reps. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., and passed by the House on April 26, the act would reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Centers program and pump an additional $13 million into its annual funding allotment. Established in 1988, the Women’s Business Center program supports a national network of centers providing free and low-cost counseling and training to more than 150,000 women entrepreneurs per year. They learn crucial skills like marketing, business plan development, pricing strategies and more.

2. Women need capital. Women lag men in accessing capital, which is the fuel for business growth. Research from the Urban Institute estimates that 4.4% of all dollars lent to small businesses each year go to women-owned businesses. This can lead to slower growth for these businesses and thus a smaller impact on the larger economy.

3. Women entrepreneurs need more women venture capitalists. Women have received only 7% of venture capital raised in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. This is not surprising since few VC women hear their pitches. Less than 10% of decision-makers at the top 100 VC firms are women. Indeed, 74% of VC firms in the U.S. do not have one woman investor. Change the funder, change the emphasis on who is funded.

4. Women need connections to markets and other entrepreneurs. A business needs clients to be successful, so connections to markets and business networks are crucial. One clear way to boost market access for women business owners is to ensure governments meet their contracting goals to women business owners. Federal agencies have a statutory goal of awarding 5% of their contracts to woman-owned small businesses, but fall short most of the time. Meeting the goal would have enormous implications for women business owners.

5. Women need a more hospitable policy and regulatory climate. Women entrepreneurs need policies and resources that remove barriers to success. Government has the power to uplift new entrepreneurs through policies that create a fair tax code, ease the permit process, ensure regulations don’t conflict and invest in business development. Unfortunately, government regulations and policies often favor larger businesses over smaller ones because the larger ones exert more influence over policy. A positive regulatory approach is one that promotes a healthy local economy that benefits businesses of all sizes.

The country needs women’s businesses to flourish. Despite the unfair lending practices, lack of startup capital and the uneven playing field, in 2018, women-owned businesses generated $1.8 trillion a year in the U.S. and employed more than 10 million workers. Imagine how much more they could do if we created a supportive, egalitarian entrepreneurial environment for them to shine in.

This article originally appeared in FORBES and is written by Carolina Martinez is CEO of CAMEO, a California micro-business network, and an expert on small business and CDFIs. To read it in it's entirety please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2022/06/06/five-recommendations-to-help-women-entrepreneurs-succeed/?sh=73114e386601  

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