WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), the leadership of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to strengthen the resources and support provided to women entrepreneurs. The Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2012 reauthorizes and enhances the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Women’s Business Center (WBC) program, which provides vital training and counseling to economically or socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs, especially women. Additionally, the National Women’s High-Growth Business Bipartisan Task Force Act of 2012 would repeal the National Women’s Business Council and replace it with a Women’s High-Growth Business Bipartisan Task Force to encourage the formation of startups and high-growth small business concerns owned by female entrepreneurs.

“As we continue on this road to economic recovery, we must not lose sight of the critical role that small businesses – particularly the economic powerhouse of women-owned businesses – will undoubtedly play in bolstering our resurgence,” said Senator Snowe. “As a longtime champion for women’s business issues, I am honored to once again sponsor legislation that will strengthen the resources and support that we provide to women entrepreneurs, as we did in 1997 with the first reauthorization of the Women’s Business Center program. With women-owned firms growing at twice the rate of other firms, now more than ever, we must leverage their superior strength and promote ways to foster startups and high-growth small business owned by this essential segment of our economy. Our legislation is a critical step in that direction.”

“Women own eight million small businesses in the United States, which generate $1.2 trillion in revenues, employ 7.6 million workers, and pay $218 billion in payroll,” Sen. Landrieu said. “It is clear from these numbers that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of our nation’s economy. The bills that Sen. Snowe and I introduced today make necessary investments in supporting these women small business owners so they can grow their companies, hire more workers and continue to help America’s economic recovery.”