Skip to content

Shaheen, Vitter, and Cantwell Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Support for Women Entrepreneurs

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the lead Democrat on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a senior member of SBC today introduced the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015, which would will strengthen and expand support for women entrepreneurs through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) Program.

“Women have made great strides in our economy, but there’s much more work to do to level the playing field,” Senator Shaheen said. “By modernizing our Women’s Business Centers, this bill will help women across the country become job-creators in their communities.”

“Women-owned small businesses contribute a vital portion of our nation’s economy, surpassing other groups in the past decades to become one of the fastest growing sectors of the United States economy. Supporting their efforts and ensuring they are afforded the highest quality assistance available to enable their success are some of the most important steps we can take in fostering the startups and growth that these entrepreneurs bring to communities across America,” said Senator Vitter. “I’m proud to have worked with Senator Cantwell and Senator Shaheen to introduce the Women’s Small Business Ownership to establish a pro-business environment that allows women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and succeed as they continue to lead the way in job creation and innovation for the entire small business community.”

“Last year, as Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, I took a hard look at actions necessary to propel women’s entrepreneurship forward. Women entrepreneurs have created more 10 million small businesses and more than 23 million jobs – but we need to take additional steps. Today’s legislation will help break the glass ceiling women entrepreneurs face in this country by ensuring the next generation of women small business owners can get the training and counseling they need to turn their ideas into realities,” said Senator Cantwell. “I want to commend Chairman Vitter and Ranking Member Shaheen of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee for their hard work and dedication to assisting women entrepreneurs succeed.”

Shaheen, Vitter, and Cantwell’s bipartisan legislation will:

· Establish training and accreditation programs for WBCs to ensure that entrepreneurs and small business owners are afforded the highest quality assistance available;

· Increase transparency in oversight of the WBC’s financial assistance proposal process and financial examination process to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively and responsibly;

· Improve accessibility and public relations by ensuring proper public notice of financial assistance and grant programs; and

· Create a public-private partnership to support women entrepreneurs and conduct outreach and education to startup and existing small businesses through new networks and partnerships.

The WBC program offers business counseling assistance to women entrepreneurs and small business owners in a variety of areas such as access to capital, job markets, job creation, and training. There are nearly 100 centers located throughout the United States and its territories.