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News & Press: WIPP Leadership Columns

WIPP Works in Washington: Above the Noise

Tuesday, January 31, 2017  
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WIPP WORKS IN WASHINGTON

 

Feb., 1 2017

 

By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate

 

Above the Noise

 

These days, Washington is a very busy place. From executive actions by President Trump, to nomination hearings and Cabinet confirmations in the Senate, and a very active House of Representatives rolling back regulations: there is a lot going on.

 

Add to that protests, the intense media engagement between the press and the Trump Administration, and the president’s active Twitter—the frenetic activity is very high. In the midst of all of this, how can the agenda for women entrepreneurs get attention? After all, we are business people. We don’t stage protests, rant on social media, or disrupt Senate hearings—we run businesses and create jobs. 

 

To that point, women-owned businesses comprise one-third of all U.S. businesses and employ 8.4 million people. Nevertheless, 89% of women-owned businesses do not have employees. Just think of the impact adding one employee per business would have on the economy. So, what does it take for women to add employees? One obvious answer is the need for capital. Yet, according to Fundera, women ask for less financing and get smaller loans at even higher interest rates than their male counterparts. The study goes on to say, “In particular, women-owned small businesses were far more likely to receive short-term funding, with APRs varying from 14% to 50% or higher, than men. Roughly 30% of women settled for the more expensive short-term loans, while only 23% of men did so. Even for short-term loans, women on average paid a 13% higher interest rate for the same product.”

 

Another point of growth is a diverse portfolio of businesses. This is one of the reasons WIPP spent the better part of its 16 years as an organization focusing on bringing public sector opportunities to women. Opening up the federal sector to women-owned businesses has resulted in over $86 billion in the last five years alone, that otherwise would have been awarded to someone else. Even though the federal government met its 5% goal of awarding contracts to women last year, there is much more to be done.  WIPP published a study late last year that shows some of the government’s biggest contract opportunities exclude women.  

 

Not only do women entrepreneurs need opportunity and capital, they could also do with less red tape and a more favorable tax structure. President Trump signed an Executive Order early this week that tells federal agencies: if you add a regulation, it can’t cost the Treasury money, and you have to do away with two existing regulations. Also known as “one in, two out.” The House of Representatives has joined in on that theme by passing legislation that requires more input on the cost of regulations from the Small Business Administration’s watchdog—the Office of Advocacy.

 

The message we must get to the Trump Administration is that women entrepreneurs are worth the investment. With additional capital, business resources, and less regulation, we are in a position to add jobs and lift up communities. 


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