February 15, 2022

Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee Passes Duckworth’s Bipartisan Bill to Support Women Entrepreneurs


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship passed bipartisan legislation by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME), 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), which is currently inactive, to help coordinate federal resources to encourage the formation, growth and success of women-owned businesses.

“As we continue our 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 my bipartisan legislation to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and business owners by making sure they have access to resources across federal agencies has passed out of Committee, and I hope we can get it to the Senate floor for final passage.”

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 Women’s 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).