June 15, 2021

Duckworth, Scott, Cardin & Collins Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Women Entrepreneurs


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship members Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) today re-introduced bipartisan legislation to help increase support to female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. The Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act would reauthorize the Interagency Committee for Women’s Business Enterprise (ICWBE) to help coordinate federal resources to encourage the formation, growth and success of women-owned businesses. U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY-06) today introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“As we work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we should be doing everything we can to help businesses grow and create jobs in their communities, especially women-owned businesses,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud that we’ve come together in a bipartisan manner to introduce this legislation, which would help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and business owners by making sure they have access to resources across federal agencies. It would also make sure the federal government shares and implements best practices so women can start and expand their businesses and keep contributing to our economy.”

The ICWBE was established in 1979 and its work was critical to the efforts of several federal agencies and departments to develop policies to assist women business owners. The Interagency Committee was maintained through both Democratic and Republican administrations, but has been inactive since 2000 with no chairperson to operate it. The efforts to better coordinate federal resources are critical to make sure that women entrepreneurs receive the assistance they need to help start and grow their business enterprise.

The Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act would amend Title IV of the Women’s Business Ownership Act to reauthorize the interagency committee by making sure a chairperson is appointed to operate the committee, which would help increase the ability of the federal government to provide targeted assistance to women entrepreneurs as they seek to start and grow their businesses. It would also update the agencies and departments that would coordinate to make sure all resources are being used effectively. This bill would update the interagency mission to identify the barriers women business owners and women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses.

This legislation is supported by Womens Veterans Business Coalition (WVBC), Small Business Majority, Center for American Entrepreneurship, Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOEUSA), National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), GovEvolve, HUBZone Contractors National Council and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC).

“Congress is considering a major infrastructure package which could provide federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses,” said Theresa Kern, Director of the Chicago Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) Board of Governors. This is the perfect time to revive the ICWBE. “This bill would ensure that the agencies work together to proactively and efficiently provide important resources to the WOSBs that have faced discrimination or been overlooked in the federal contracting process, as well as in the private market.”