The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) has provided the first in-depth look at how women-owned businesses fared during the economic downturn, concluding in its year-end report that a majority of women-owned employer establishments either expanded employment or remained steady in 2007-2009 despite the shaky economy. In its 2012 Annual Report submitted to the White House, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the NWBC offered its list of recommendations to help increase the economic potential of women entrepreneurs, one of the fastest-growing segments in the country.
It also provided an update on its ongoing research, including a project tracking women-owned businesses first surveyed in 2007 as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
This year’s recommendations addressed topics including:
- High growth businesses: The absence of a standard definition for “high growth” may be impeding the government’s ability to measure these types of businesses that have attracted wide attention.
- Federal procurement: Women business owners have consistently sought improved access to government contracting opportunities. The Senate recently took steps to help ease restrictions placed on the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, but the government has room to improve in achieving its 5 percent set-aside goal for women-owned firms.
- Access to capital: Getting more money into the hands of women entrepreneurs continues to be the top priority for starting and growing businesses.
- Data and research: The government should support efforts to collect and annually disseminate a consistent, shared source of baseline data on women-owned businesses.