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House Panel Passes Bipartisan Bill Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

October 4, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – A bill introduced by freshman Reps. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., and Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., and intended to provide women entrepreneurs greater access to resources and training has passed through the House Committee on Small Business without objection.

H.R. 4405, the Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act, authorizes $31.5 million in annual funding for four years for the Women’s Business Centers program.

“Women are the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurs, but many unique challenges still exist for women, particularly women of color, to start and grow a business,” Rep. Davids said.

“By strengthening Women’s Business Centers, we can increase access to vital counseling and technical training services for female entrepreneurs so they can succeed right here in Kansas,” she said.

For his part, Rep. Hagedorn thanked Rep. Davids for her leadership on the issue, and his colleagues on the committee for their support.

“We are one step closer to more effectively promoting women entrepreneurship and empowering a new generation of business leaders to achieve the American Dream,” he said.

The legislation would also raise the cap on individual center grants to $300,000 and index for inflation.

And it establishes an accreditation program, a constructive and transparent process for new center locations, while requiring an annual report be submitted by the SBA to Congress to analyze the effectiveness of the program. 

The Women’s Business Center program was established 30 years ago to help women entrepreneurs succeed, and now there are 150 locations throughout the U.S. which serve over 150,000 entrepreneurs annually.

Sherry Turner, executive director of the Kansas City Women’s Business Center, said women are increasingly exploring entrepreneurship as a pathway to financial self-sufficiency.

“Reauthorizing WBC funding is imperative to our consulting and training programs for women entrepreneurs serving more than 145,000 women entrepreneurs each year,” she said, adding that once H.R. 4405 passes the full Congress and is signed by the president, “women all over the country will have the opportunity to access more of the resources they need to start and grow their businesses.”

 To view the bill, click here.

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