Women Business Owners Set Sights on Capitol Hill

Women business owners have been amassing in force throughout the summer to prepare their policy plans and strategies to outline to lawmakers this fall.

Women Impacting Public Policy, a business advocacy group, released a draft economic blueprint at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last month and hosted a similar event with the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council at the Republican National Convention this week.

The document -- which touts access to capital, energy, health care, procurement, taxes and technology as top issues for the nation's 10.1 million privately-held women-owned businesses -- was created as a call to action for Congress and the next administration.

A final version is scheduled to be presented to Republican and Democratic leaders as a part of a WIPP conference in Washington on Sept. 9.

Meanwhile, the National Women's Business Council is hosting a reception on Sept. 10 at the U.S. Capitol replete with lawmakers and others celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Women's Business Ownership Act, which created the women's council, Small Business Administration Office of Women's Business Ownership and the Women's Business Center program.

The National Association of Women Business Owners along with other members of the small business community at the reception will unveil a draft of "Roadmap to 2020" -- a plan designed to fuel the growth of women's enterprise development in the United States.

The roadmap is a work in progress, but it will address what its authors see as gaps in the "women entrepreneurial ecosystem" such as resources for the missing middle - businesses that are above start-up status but haven't reached $1 million in revenue. The report also will propose a metric for measuring the social and economic return on investment in women's enterprise development, focus on clean and green technology and suggest the creation of a philanthropic initiative to facilitate funding by major foundations and successful women entrepreneurs.

The plan is being developed by D.C.-based consultancy Quantum Leaps working in partnership with the National Women's Business Council, a federal advisory commission that makes policy recommendations to Congress, the SBA and the president.

In other policy news, the SBE Council recently examined the plans and positions of presidential contenders Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama and created a comparative listing (pdf) of where they stand on key issues for the small business community.

Update: This post was updated at 3:50 p.m. to correct the name of the host for the Sept. 10 Capitol Hill reception.

By Sharon McLoone |  September 3, 2008; 2:40 PM ET Legal Affairs , Policymakers
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