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Small Business Committee Chair Calls For Increased Federal Investment in Women Entrepreneurs

  • Senator Ben Cardin calls for federal policy changes to help support women entrepreneurship
  • Cardin says women have been a major economic driver in recent years, especially minority women
  • Initial funding rounds of Paycheck Protection Program only supported a modest share of women, prompting later changes to make the program more equitable

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship issued a call for more federal investment in women entrepreneurs, saying women have been a major economic driving force in recent decades but have not always seen equitable support from government programs.

Senator Ben Cardin said the number of people employed at women-owned businesses increased 21 percent between 2007 and 2018 even as employment across all businesses fell 0.8 percent. He said growth was even more pronounced in businesses owned by people of color, with the number of businesses owned by minority women growing 163 percent during the same period.

“While the pandemic has shined a light on the structural barriers women still face, it has also demonstrated that the federal government can play a key role in breaking down those barriers and empowering women entrepreneurs,” said Cardin.

  • Women-owned businesses make up 16 percent of all companies, employ 9.2 million people (8 percent of the overall U.S. workforce), and generate $1.8 trillion in annual revenue (4.3 percent of overall U.S. business revenues)
  • Just 9 percent of loans in the initial funding round of the Paycheck Protection Program went to women-owned business
  • Later changes to the program aimed to help improve equitable access for women as well as other underserved entrepreneurs, including veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals

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