Meng Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Assist Women Entrepreneurs
Oct 23, 2019
Congresswoman’s measure would help reestablish key government entity to help women-owned businesses succeed
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation that seeks to assist women entrepreneurs.
The Congresswoman’s bill would reauthorize the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise (ICWBE), a U.S. government entity charged with coordinating federal resources to help women-owned businesses grow and succeed.
ICWBE was established in 1979 and led several federal agencies in the development of policies to help women business owners flourish. But it became inactive in 2000. Since then, no other federal agency has had the authority to help coordinate federal resources for businesses owned by women.
If revived, ICWBE would look at the behavior of federal agencies in how they support, expand, and strengthen resources and programs for women-owned businesses – ultimately making sure that the federal government is doing all it can to support female entrepreneurs.
“Getting the ICWBE back to functioning status would help increase the ability of the federal government to provide targeted assistance to women entrepreneurs so they can achieve their business goals,” said Rep. Meng. “Helping women business owners is vital to a ensuring a strong economy and creating jobs, and my bill would make sure they have access to critical government tools that help them start, grow, and sustain their business enterprises. I urge all my colleagues to support this legislation.”
“Women-owned businesses drive innovation and economic growth and they have tremendous economic impacts to communities, states and our nation," said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). "I am proud to stand with Congresswomen Grace Meng in this effort as it remains critical that we continue to put forth policies that will allow for growth, diversity and support through resources and training that will help women-owned businesses continue to thrive."
“I’m honored to cosponsor this legislation and want to thank Rep. Meng for taking the lead in introducing this bill,” said Rep. Aumua Amata (R-AS). “As we have learned in the Small Business Committee, more and more women are taking the lead in the business world. Reauthorizing the Interagency Committee will ensure that women continue to access the guidance and resources they need to succeed.”
“In 2018, 1,821 new female-owned startup firms were created every single day, 72% of which were owned my women of color,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA). “I’m proud to help introduce the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2019, which will help elevate the concerns of women small business owners in Pennsylvania and across this country. As a former entrepreneur, I’m happy to lend my experience and support a more equal economy across gender lines.”
All three lawmakers are original cosponsors of Meng’s bill.
“Small business is the economic engine of Queens County, with over 45,000 businesses that have fewer than 5 employees,” said Andrea Ormeño, Director of the Women’s Business Center at the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC). “These companies need support and education in order to succeed. By passing Congresswoman Meng’s bill, women-owned businesses will be the beneficiary of targeted assistance that can only result in business growth, added employment and economic development in our community.”
The QEDC’s letter of support for Meng’s bill can be viewed here.
"Rep. Meng recognizes the fact that women-owned small businesses still face challenges in the federal government procurement process and her bill, by reviving the ICWBE, would take a simple but important step to ensure that more women-owned businesses have the opportunity to be successful in the public marketplace," said Lorraine D'Angelo, Northeastern Representative for Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE).
"The most recent SBA Small Business Procurement Scorecard shows that federal efforts on behalf of women businesses are still needed,” said Deborah Bradley, a New York member of WCOE. “WCOE's New York members applaud the efforts of Congresswoman Meng.”
"I am so grateful for Rep. Meng's perseverance in helping to bring more awareness to women-owned businesses, a cause near and dear to my heart,” said Wendy Diamond, Founder of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization, Inc. (WEDO). “After organizing and running the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Organization since 2013, it is refreshing to see our government representatives recognizing the need to assist female entrepreneurs, and I wholeheartedly applaud this effort. I look forward to continuing to find opportunities to help women in business succeed.”
Meng’s legislation has been referred to the House Small Business Committee. The measure can be viewed here.