WOMEN AND MINORITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship has made history in the 111th Congress as the first full committee in the U.S. Senate or the U.S House of Representatives to be lead by two female lawmakers. Senator Snowe considers it a distinguished honor to be the Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee during this historic moment, as we have a unique opportunity to ensure that women entrepreneurs truly have a voice at the highest level.
For the past two decades, women-owned businesses have been the fastest growing segment in the U.S. economy, growing at twice the rate of all other businesses with 10.1 million women-owned businesses employing 13 million Americans and generating $1.9 trillion in annual revenues in 2008 alone. Senator Snowe remains committed to supporting women entrepreneurs, who drive our nation's economy by starting 1,600 new businesses in America every single day. Of particular note, the Senator’s own state of Maine is a forerunner for women-owned businesses with more than 63,000 women-owned firms that have created 75,000 jobs and generated more than $9 billion in sales.
Our nation recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, landmark legislation that has unlocked the tremendous energy and capabilities of women entrepreneurs. At the same time, our country must look to the future for ways to further expand new opportunities. Moving forward, Congress must do everything possible to address the challenges still facing women’s entrepreneurship today. This includes providing women-owned businesses with the access to capital and government contracts that propel their growth. The continued success of women-owned businesses across the board is critical to helping create jobs and drive economic growth in America.
For more information for women entrepreneurs, please see the Small Business Administration’s website for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people in the United States who are classified in ethnic and racial minorities has exceeded 100 million. Today, one in every three U.S. residents is classified as a minority. Additionally, there are now over four million minority-owned businesses across the country, accounting for over $591 billion in annual revenues.
Small business owners are, in many ways, an embodiment of the independence and determination of the American spirit. Yet there is something distinctly un-American about the racial, gender, or geographic inequalities of small business ownership. The Committee has long fought to provide our minority, women, and economically disadvantaged small business owners with the entrepreneurial support and opportunities they rightfully deserve. All Americans deserve to be given an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream and a top priority for the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is to provide our nation’s disadvantaged entrepreneurs the resources and technical assistance necessary to start and grow small businesses.
A valuable resource for minority entrepreneurship can be found at the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is responsible for administering and implementing programs to ensure that members of minority-owned small businesses have a fair opportunity to achieve economic self-sufficiency and to fully realize their tremendous potential. The SBA’s minority entrepreneurship programs, especially the Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) and the 8(a) business development program for small disadvantaged businesses, have provided real economic opportunities to minority communities across America.