Today marks the launch of National Small Business Week -- a series of cross-country events featuring entrepreneurship forums on business start-up and growth, and highlighting the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from across the nation.
Amanda Brown, the newly appointed Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council (NWBC) -- a nonpartisan advisory council serving the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, says, "The economic impact of women entrepreneurs is a topic that cannot afford to fly under the radar. Women entrepreneurs are significant contributors to our economy. This is proven, and as a council we won't let this go unnoticed."
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States issues a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week. This year's National Small Business Week will be held May 12th-May 16th to honor our nation's entrepreneurs and small business owners. Various organizations are honoring National Small Business week including the U.S. Small Business Administration taking the lead with a multi-city tour.
In recognition of women business owners during National Small Business Week, the National Women's Business Council is using its voice to highlight the significant strides of women entrepreneurs' contributions to the national economy. When asked about the impact of women-owned businesses, Brown had this to say:
"As we recognize National Small Business Week, it is important to acknowledge the significant economic impact women entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth. As it stands, women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment in the small business community, with more than 8.9 million women-owned businesses in the US, employing 7.8 million people nationwide."
The numbers indicate women are making significant strides in contributing to job creation and the creation of new businesses. A new study from American Express OPEN says women are starting new businesses at an astonishing rate of 1,288 new businesses a day.
Women business owners have a lot to be optimistic about. In fact, a recent study by the National Association of Women Business Owners finds 87 percent of its members are optimistic about their economic outlook, up 12 percent from just a year ago. But the challenges persist. When it comes to identifying concrete ways to address challenges facing women entrepreneurs Brown says:
"Women business owners are making great strides but still face significant challenges. The NWBC's innovative research efforts have resulted in four main pillars to address challenges facing women entrepreneurs, including: access to capital, access to markets, job creation, and increased data collection of women's economic impact."
Each year the National Women's Business Council releases an annual report to key influencers in the White House administration, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration outlining policy recommendations to increase economic gains for women entrepreneurs. Within NWBC's annual report is the groundwork for policy makers, the private sector, and the women's' business community to act strategically towards advancing women business owners.
"Access to capital continues to be a critical issue for women entrepreneurs, says Brown. Numerous studies indicate women rely heavily on personal savings to start a business, a tendency that is associated with lower amounts of start-up capital. Looking ahead at the women's entrepreneurship agenda, the issues of undercapitalization must remain at the forefront of the agenda.
When asked about the future of women-owned businesses, NWBC Executive Director Amanda Brown closes with: "The future of women-owned businesses looks promising. As a council, the NWBC is steadfast on being a nonpartisan voice in ensuring the challenges and opportunities of women business owners are amplified through our efforts."
Amanda Brown is the former National Political Director of Rock the Vote and previously worked as an Advisor for Strategic Planning at the Department of Energy and an assistant in the White House Office of Political Affairs. She is a recipient of the Forbes 2014 30 under 30: Law & Policy honor.