What’s on the Mind of Women Entrepreneurs

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a Town Hall meeting of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) in San Francisco.

The NWBC is a bipartisan federal government council that serves as an independent source of advice to the President, Congress, and the SBA on ecomoic issues of importance to women business owners.

Thursday’s session was attended by about 200 women from across Northern California. Many of these were sole entrepreneurs (solopreneurs) themselves. Others, like myself, were representing various organizations and resources for women business owners.

The energy in the room was quite evident — coming on the heels of the election Tuesday, there is new hope for change in Washington, though this is tempered greatly by the understanding that in a serious economic crisis, many other issues take a lower priority.

It was wonderful to see many members of the WIC community in the room, and to connect with many women who were not aware of WIC but would be good candidates to join our community.

The discussions focused on Access to Capital, Affordable Health Care, Procurement, Education & Workforce Development, Taxes, and Microenterprise. I asked the WIC community for input as to their top issues.  By far, the biggest issue for our members is access to affordable health care (or, in some cases, access to ANY health care at all). I presented our issues to the breakout group on this topic, and many others share our concerns. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to fix this problem (or it would have been fixed long ago). However, there are several groups, including Small Business Majority and NAWBO, who are floating trial proposals. I’m looking forward to learning more about these and will share what I think are relevant points to the WIC community.

Other issues brought up by the WIC community revolve around taxes, excessive paperwork required by small businesses, and access to capital. I raised these issues as well in the Microenterprise session, as that breakout was focused on businesses whose profiles are very much like our members.

All-in-all, it was an informative day and it was great to see so many successful women focused on how to help other women be successful.

As president of WIC, I’m committed to remaining engaged in these types of discussions, so that the needs and concerns of our members are articulated and brought forward amongst our peers. Please feel free to add your comments to this blog, so that we can continue to stay on top of your issues as business conditions change and evolve.

Regards,

Linda

About Linda Popky

Linda J. Popky, a past president of WIC and the founder and president of Silicon Valley-based Leverage2Market Associates, helps organizations be heard above the noise. She is the author of the recently released book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters. Connect with her on Twitter at @popky

Comments

  1. Thanks for representing our interests at this important event. It’s only by sharing our needs and priorities that we can collaboratively develop solutions.

    Was there any discussion of the value of the Women Owned Business certification? I’d love to get a discussion going around the relative merit and best practices if someone wants to move forward with the certification.

  2. Hi Elaine. Thanks for the comment. Many of the attendees were already certified women owned enterprises and there was a big display at the event to encourage women to signup for the CCR, which is the listing of contractors registered to sell to the federal government. Government regulations mandate that 5% of spending should go to women-owned businesses, but the problem is there are very few such businesses that are listed in the CCR, and if you’re not listed there, the government can’t buy from you.

    I recently went through the women owned business certification through WBENC at the request of a client, and I have to say it was not as difficult as I had been led to believe. (The more complex your business and the more layers of management, the more difficult this process may be since the certifying groups have to be clear that the key deciisonmakers and owners of the business are women. My business was simple in that regard.) I know there are at least several other WIC members who have been through this process.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Linda

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