Celebrating Equal Pay and Small Business | NAWBO

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Celebrating Equal Pay and Small Business

This morning, I was honored to stand among an audience of almost entirely women in the East Room of the White House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. Here, President Obama recognized the gains we’ve made in the past five decades and the gender wage disparities that still remain (women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men). “This is the 21st century,” President Obama said. “It’s time to close that gap.”

As part of this, President Obama also spoke about the role small business plays in helping women get equal pay. Our nation’s small businesses that employ less than 100 people and are known for their creativity, innovation, independence and resilience now account for half our nation’s workforce, including those who own them and the employees who work for them. They also create two out of every three new jobs. President Obama’s remarks were timed perfectly as the week of June 17th marks the 50th  anniversary of National Small Business Week. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing this special week recognizing and honoring the vital contributions of small business. The U.S. Small Business Administration  (SBA) who watches out for and supports our nation’s small businesses takes this opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from around the country. For 2013, this is happening through a series of events held in major cities on different dates, including:

  • Seattle: June 17
  • Dallas: June 18
  • St. Louis: June 19
  • Pittsburgh: June 20
  • Washington, DC: June 21

To learn more about these events or find an event in your area celebrating small business, visit: http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw. With small businesses making up nearly 90 percent of NAWBO’s membership, we are proud to so clearly mirror the success of small business within our own community and of our work to further this success. In a recent op-ed piece for CNBC.com, I joined together with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), to announce our partnership, the Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative. We will be working to bring capital access options and training to more women small business owners through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. If you missed the article, you can read it here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457. Stay tuned for more announcements and results from this exciting partnership. NAWBO’s community of supporters, specifically our corporate partners, are also supporting small businesses and giving them the knowledge and resources to thrive. American Express, for instance, was the first company in the financial services sector to create a team and a business unit dedicated to serving small businesses and offering small business-specific products. American Express OPEN is also the force behind Small Business Saturday, the grassroots event that encourages shopping at local small businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday each November. Meanwhile, our partners at Walmart are supporting small businesses worldwide with the launch of their Empowering Women Together initiative. It offers shoppers more than 200 items from 19 businesses—all small, women-owned businesses—in nine countries. Also, according to Fox Business Small Business Center, our partners at Wells Fargo have set the goal to increase lending to women-owned small businesses to $55 billion by 2020. And that’s just the beginning of what our partners are doing to help. This month, I hope you’ll take time as a small business owner, a big business owner or an employee of either to participate in an event in your city or just to shop at some of your local small businesses. These businesses are the backbone of America, and without them, there would be no economic growth and certainly no NAWBO. —Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO