The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) members are diverse in many ways, including the size of their business, the sector they serve in, the stage of business development, and personal politics. The NAWBO Advocacy agenda embodies the ever-present need to create both the avenue and environment to build sustainable women-owned businesses.
Speaking to the Microbusiness, Reinvigorating, and Encouraging the Emerging Entrepreneur
As a result of the pandemic, many women find themselves looking for a new career path, and we want to give them the tools to harness their entrepreneurial spirit. Still, first, we need to build a solid foundation for the emerging microbusiness.
- Addressing the Definition of Small: Lawmakers need to take a closer look at the definition of small business. Currently, fewer than 500 employees amount to a very different business than a sole proprietor or women-owned business with fewer than 100 or even 50 employees. We need to look hard at the definition of small.
- Understanding the New Age Woman Worker: Lawmakers need to understand the importance of the flexibility afforded to business owners and their employees with the 1099 concept as opposed to W-2 status, where both laws and employers can impose restrictions that become barriers to work/life balance needs of women. The reclassification system stymies growth for the very small business owner. With the economic damage and uncertainty from the past year, it is not the time to be imposing these burdens.
- Converting Passion to Opportunity: If we want women to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, Congress should consider entrepreneurial incentives for women seeking to start a new business or expand.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Loan and Emergency EIDL grant programs provided access to much-needed capital for business owners while also highlighting critical areas of much-needed improvement for women.
- Educating to Advance: Lawmakers must investigate viable ways to educate women and minorities on developing a long-standing relationship with a financial institution. Moreover, women business owners (WBOs) need to learn about the value of investing money into your business for future development.
- Accessing All Forms of Capital: The proportion by which women and minority business owners received funding during the pandemic underscored their constant struggle to access capital. Lawmakers must make fundamental changes to ensure women's inclusion in traditional avenues and other outlets such as venture capital.
Breaking the Middle Barrier
Many WBOs struggle to break the barrier between $350,000 in revenue to over a million dollars in revenue. NAWBO believes our nation must work to advance these women-business owners.
- Educating to Scale: Whether it is learning how to build out their next business plan or manage different HR concerns as they scale their business, it takes education to lead women on the correct path. Lawmakers must ensure a key component of rebuilding post-pandemic is access to information and education.
- Sponsoring to Build Beyond Potential: NAWBO prides itself on our community of women business owners, but it will take a national effort to ensure that women business owners across America receive proper mentorship and sponsorship that encourages women to grow beyond their potential.
Utilizing and Receiving Technology
The COVID-19 crisis underscored the great need for innovative technology and infrastructure for the changing workplace.
- Accessing Reliable, Affordable Broadband: Business owners and their consumers need to have affordable, reliable broadband.
- Utilizing the Digital Footprint: Business owners must have access to the tools necessary to establish their web presence and create online marketplaces to reach their local and global customers.
- Learning to Market Online: Our business owners that seek to reach the 1-million-dollar mark in revenue sometimes find themselves missing one key component—marketing. To help women business owners who want to expand and employ more of our unemployed workforce, we need to provide avenues to help them utilize and understand how to use marketing resources online.
Caring for the Business Owner and Caretaking Flexibilities for the Employee
More than ever, our nation understands the need for a sound healthcare system and acknowledges a concerted effort is needed to address the business owners' healthcare and their employees.
- Creating Affordable Healthcare Options: As premium rates and prescription drug costs continue to rise, NAWBO recognizes the need to address small businesses' healthcare costs.
- Understanding the Importance of Our Well-Being: As a nation, NAWBO believes Congress should also understand the importance of investing in the health and wellness of our business owners and their employees through expanded opportunities for telemedicine, mental health priorities, and championing efforts that provide pathways for sustainability without added regulatory or fiscal impact to businesses.
- Prioritizing Our Nation's Caretakers: Lawmakers must realize that businesses need to offer themselves and their employees the flexibility to take care of their loved ones.
- Educating on Business Succession Planning and Retirement: Policymakers must understand the pitfalls of retirement and business succession planning for businesses and find ways to ensure that women are just as prepared to enter the workforce as they are to exit the workforce.