Melissa Wylie, Bizwomen reporter
Oct 6, 2016, 11:58am EDT Updated: Oct 6, 2016, 12:22pm EDT
The National Association of Women Business Owners sent a letter this week to both major party presidential candidates asking them to host a small business conference in Washington if elected.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When new leadership enters the White House in 2017, the National Association of Women Business Owners wants to make sure small businesses stay top of mind.
NAWBO sent a letter this week to both major party presidential candidates asking them to host a small business conference in Washington if elected. October is National Women’s Small Business Month, making it the perfect time to put forth the proposal, said Joy Lutes, national vice president of external affairs for NAWBO.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the White House often held conferences around small business, and NAWBO played a key role in the events, Lutes said. The organization is hoping to reinstate these conferences by establishing a solid relationship with the president from day one.
“Small business owners are a driving force in this nation's economy,” NAWBO national board chair Teresa Meares said in a statement.“The beginning of the next presidential administration presents an ideal time to gather these important economic leaders to discuss the opportunities and impediments relating to their ability to grow their businesses and by extension the economy.”
The organization sent the proposal to both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump to reflect the interests of NAWBO members.
“We do endorse congressional candidates, but we didn’t endorse in this presidential race because our membership is pretty evenly divided,” Lutes said. “We have a really great relationship with both candidates and we feel like whoever wins, NAWBO is ready to work with the next president.”
The idea for the proposal came about during NAWBO’s 2016 National Women’s Business Conference last month. During one of the panel discussions, past NAWBO presidents reminisced about attending small business conferences at the White House, which often felt like mini congressional sessions for small business leaders.
After hearing the stories, current NAWBO leaders started brainstorming ideas to bring back the conference. Since sending the proposal, they’ve gotten positive feedback from the membership.
“So many of our chapters are ready to do something positive,” Lutes said