U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, hosted a Roundtable Discussion with Louisiana women small business owners and the National Women’s Business Council on Friday, March 13th, to discuss success stories and the struggles small businesses face in gaining access to capital, navigating federal regulations, competing in government contracting, and any other significant issue affecting how small businesses grow.

“Over the years, women have made tremendous progress in increasing their presence in our workforce and as business owners nation-wide, but there are still significant development hurdles—both old and new—that we must address,” said Vitter. “Government over-regulation and increased taxes are stifling small business growth opportunities; while fraud in lending and certification programs are keeping honest business owners from getting the money and contracts they need to succeed.”

“We are delighted to be in New Orleans with Senator David Vitter, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Our research confirms that access to capital remains one of the greatest barriers to female entrepreneurship. Women are starting businesses at record rates, but doing so with half the capital; in high-growth industries, it can be up to six times less capital. Yet, women-owned businesses are growing – creating jobs and helping the economic recovery. The Council is committed to increasing women's access to capital and to amplify this growth, and we are excited by the continued commitment on this issue by the Senate Committee.” - Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council

“The SBA is deeply committed to fostering economic opportunity for women, through our work in the areas of capital, counseling, and contracting,” said Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Since 2009, SBA lending to women-owned businesses has gone up 31 percent across our three lending portfolios, and this roundtable is an opportunity to increase that for women entrepreneurs in Louisiana.”

The month of March is recognized as Women’s History Month. As of 2013, there are an estimated 8.6 million women-owned businesses generating over $1.3 trillion in revenues.