News from Early-Mid 2011
A chronological listing of the news items that appeared on Womenable.com from January to June 2011.
"As I write this, the US House Small Business Committee is convening a ìforegone conclusionî hearing focusing on the duplication of entrepreneurial development services at the SBA. Why is it a foregone conclusion? Theyíve already sent in their Views and Estimates letter to the House Budget Committee ñ not only saying that there is duplication of business development services but recommending the elimination of funding for the nationís 110 womenís business centers (WBCs) in FY2012. And theyíve denied any womenís business center leader or the Association of Womenís Business Centers the opportunity to testify in defense of the program at this hearing. Weíve tried, and sent in letters and research findings refuting their contention, to no avail.
"Yes, the economy is still sputtering. Yes, the budget deficit is a serious issue that must be addressed. And, yes, there is most certainly some duplication of services in the economic development efforts of the federal government (as mentioned in the recent GAO report). But do we really think, at the very time we want to get small businesses booming again, that this is the time to cut programs that provide direct support to business creation and job growth? And do we really think that a ìone size fits allî approach to business development will work when business trends in general are moving toward ìmass customizationî and the ìmass market of oneì?
"We canít sit idly by and allow budget-cutting fervor to outweigh the need for a variety of approaches to economic development assistance. Hereís why Chairman Graves is wrong: READ ON ..." (May 2011)
Women Impacting Public Policy recently released its annual issues survey, revealing women business owners in the US to be more optimistic about the economy than a year ago, yet still uncertain about which way things are heading in the country. They remain concerned about the cost of health care coverage for themselves and their employees, and are also concerned about taxes and access to capital. Read more about the survey results in this news release or in this PowerPoint presentation.
There are several other soon-to-be-released surveys of women business owners we recommend that you be on the lookout for. They are:
In the area of entrepreneurial development organization support, the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program at the Womenís Business Center in Los Angeles, CA won the Women's Business Center of Excellence Award. Since 1999, the Womenís Business Center (WBC) at the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (API SBP) has provided a myriad of services to assist women, low-income and immigrants groups in starting and growing business enterprises. The API SBP WBC is a collaborative of five community organizations: the Chinatown Service Center, Koreatown Youth & Community Center, Little Tokyo Service Center CDC, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, and the Thai Community Development Center. Colleen Seto is the director of the Center.
In the area of "small business champions," Laurie Simon, CEO of Seattle-based Ombrella Consulting, Inc and a member of Women Impacting Public Policy, was named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the work she's done in the area of educating women business owners about Federal procurement opportunities. As we womenablers know, the SBA recently implemented a Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program to increase access to the Federal marketplace.
Womenable gives a virtual "high five" to both of these womenablers. Huzzah! (May 2011)
Dr. Kanyoro was born in Kenya and has lived and worked internationally for years. Most recently, she serves as Director of the David and Lucile Packard Foundationís Population and Reproductive Health Program. Her contributions to the Packard Foundation include targeted support to womenís movements, leadership and girlís education. She'll assume her new position in August.
Read more about Dr. Kanyoro and her appointment HERE.
Since 1987, the Global Fund for Women has awarded over $82 million in grants to more than 4,000 groups in 170 countries. The Global Fund believes that it is women themselves who understand the challenges in their communities and how best to provide solutions.
Congratulations to Dr. Kanyoro! (May 2011)
Read this news article and this ForbesWoman blogpost to learn more. (May 2011)
Nearly all (90%) of the firms were founded by their current owners. On average, they've been in business for 16 years, employ 557 workers, and generate $82.7 million in revenues.
WPO partnered with American Express OPEN on developing and releasing the ranking. All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth. To be qualified for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies in the U.S. or Canada and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2006 and $2 million in 2010.
For more about the awards, and the companies that made the list, read this news release or this Wall Street Journal article. (May 2011)
We at Womenable say "hip, hip, hooray" to a re-energized NWBC! (May 2011)
Women-owned firms are now estimated to number just over 8.1 million, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing 7.7 million workers. The new report, The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2011, also provides estimates of the number and economic contributions of women-owned firms by industry, by state, and by revenue and employment class of firm.
Womenable conducted the analysis, basing the 2011 estimates on an analysis of the 1997, 2002, and 2007 Census data, the latter having just been released in December 2010. Learn more about and download the 53-page report free at OPENforum.com/women, and read the full study news release here. For additional Womenable commentary, click here to read our news announcement. (March 2011)
To keep track of the US' diplomatic efforts on behalf of women's issues, bookmark and check in on the State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues - which contains some videos covering some of the above-mentioned events - and/or follow the DipNote blogposts. (March 2011)
Launched to coincide with the centenary of International Women's Day, KnowHow's initial pool of groups seeking expertise numbers 13, including women's business associations from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the MENA region, seeking help with such issues as advocacy, business skills training, governance, and member services. To learn more, including how you might volunteer your expertise, at knowhowexchange.org.
Womenablers may also wish to know that CIPE is planning an international women's conference that will bring together many of these women's business groups in Washington DC on June 20 and 21. And you may also with to subscribe to their Community of Women Entrepreneurs blogposts. (March 2011)
More efforts targeted at mentoring will build upon the EU's first women's enterprise support effort, the European Network to Support Women's Entreprenueurship, with delegates from 31 countries, and a women's enterprise ambassador program launched in 2009 and spearheaded by Sweden.
While these efforts had promise, this recent article notes that activity has fallen off and is in need of more concerted action.
Womenable, for one, hopes that this new effort will give a needed boost to activity and thus to women's enterprise creation and growth in Europe. A visit to the EU's women's enterprise portal notes that there will soon be a call for proposals for the establishment of a women's mentoring network - so get ready, womenablers! (March 2011)
A report of the survey findings, entitled "how to unlock the growth potential of female entrepreneurs," has just been released. It is based on an online survey among 220 respondents.
The survey finds that these women aren't lacking in self-confidence or growth aspirations, but uncovers several other factors that are holding them back, including:
Access to finance, while an important issue, doesn't garner as much concern as these other issues do.
The report concludes with an estimation that if these women could overcome these barriers, their additional contributions to the UK economy would exceed £232 million. It further recommends that tailored support to women entrepreneurs is key to unlocking their growth potential. Womenable couldn't agree more!
To find out more about the study, and download the 20-page summary for free, visit enterprising-women.org. (March 2011)
The US Department of Labor now has several segmented "Find It" pages, providing links to quick facts by topic and specific audience, including women. The "Find It-Women" page contains links to tools for women seeking employment, for statistics on working women, information on women veterans, and to publications of interest to women.
You might also want to check out the DoL's new updated facts on Women in the Labor Force 2010. And, of course, visit the DoL's Women's Bureau page every now and then for updated news as well.
So take a moment to check these out and bookmark them for future reference. It might make your next haystack search a little easier! (March 2011)
Their article, Female Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries, is summarized HERE and appears in a special section of a recent issue of the European Journal of Development Research.
While we're not quite sure what the authors mean by "stylized facts" (is this a veiled attempt to disparage research not done in a theory-based academic context, which might actually be user-friendly?), we do agree with their conclusions that:
We're calling this occasional series "The Womenabler Speaks," and you'll be able to find this and other video contributions from Womenable on our new You Tube channel. We'd love your comments.
Just in case you can't make out all of the words that the Womenabler avatar is speaking, our Musings on Women's History Month poem is repeated below:
Womenable speaks makes its debut.
A lighthearted look, from our point of view,
at womenabling news you can use.
We may not always rhyme,
our raps may not be sublime,
but our tweets, posts and bon mots,
mixing poetry and prose,
will shine a light, make you think, and be right on time.
March means women's history.
A month-long look at all that we
have done to move that proverbial ball
up the hill and over the wall.
So let's remember the suffragettes,
and those who bear the torch today.
From Tareer Square to High Street they gather to say
Let's make a path so we can get
A chance to launch and find our way
to peace through business and empowerment.
That's what our foremothers saw,
when risking life and limb.
A future bright with promise,
for all our kith and kin.
So celebrate women's history by making some of your own! (February 2011)
The assessment, coordinated by Booz Allen Hamilton for the US Agency for International Development, represented the launch of a new diagnostic tool, GenderCLIR. It had been tested previously in work that Womenable was also involved in with Booz Allen Hamilton in Rwanda. (See that resulting report, Rwanda: Investing in the Empowerment of Women in Business, HERE.)
Some of the key recommendations contained in the report:
The report evaluated both "generic" value chain development projects and those focused specifically on women's economic empowerment.
Not unexpectedly, the report finds that "generic interventions are not sufficient to include value chain participation by women" - especially in more conservative contexts. On the other side of the coin, however, projects focused specifically on women can create a backlash among the largely male power structure in communities and - if done in isolation - may not lead to sustainable growth if projects are not linked both horizontally and vertically in the value chain.
The study also finds that changing priorities and personnel on the ground in development agencies can reduce a project's long-term chances of success.
All in all, it is an interesting report, one that womenablers everywhere may wish to download, read, and save for future reference. (February 2011)
First, check out and bookmark CIPE's women's programs page - and check in on it regularly to see what they've been up to. They have a nice Development Blog as well, including posts organized under the Community of Women Entrepreneurs heading, that you may wish to subscribe to. CIPE has also recently launched a monthly Women's Update e-news column. Read the inaugural January 2011 issue here.
Next, take a look at some of the case study reports they've produced recently, looking at how women's business associations have launched and grown in Eastern Europe, Africa and South Asia. You may find links to them on the Women's Programs page.
Of special note is a report published by CIPE last March, entitled "Empowering Women Through NGOs and Women's Business Associations," written by my good friend and fellow womenabler Susanne Jalbert (who is off to Afghanistan with USAID next month). Three cheers to Susanne, who practices what she preaches at a level higher than many of us!
Finally, you might want to consider putting CIPE's upcoming Women Building Democracy That Delivers conference on your calendar. Scheduled for June 20-21 in Washington DC, speakers include US State Department Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer. Find out more about this event HERE. (February 2011)
Several recent developments have caught our eye in this regard. The first is an initiative of the International Center for Research on Women, called IMAGES (the International Men and Gender Equality Survey). One outcome of this effort is a new report highlighting the results of a 7-country survey (Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico, Rwanda and South Africa) which has interviewed men and woman about gender roles in society. Some of the most interesting results include:
ICRW has also partnered with Instituto Promundo on another fascinating report, What Men Have To Do With It: Public Policies to Promote Gender Equality. This report lays out some specific strategies for action. In addition to the usual actions that should be undertaken, including greater early education, personal safety policies (especially related to GBV) and health concerns (such as STDs), the report recommends that:
In explaining their efforts in this area, the ICRW states, "Like women, men have the ability to be agents of change in their own lives ñ as well as in those of their wives, sisters, girlfriends and daughters." Hear, hear! (February 2011)
I just ran across this blogpost from Mocha Writes mentioning the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American millionnairess. I was reminded of a wonderful presentation I attended a few years ago at the Smithsonian by her great-great-granddaughter A'Lelia Bundles, who had written a book about her life and legacy, "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker." It's a wonderful read.
Check out this video of Bundles talking about Walker's rise to fame and fortune:
Walker was also featured prominently in a book and traveling exhibit a few years ago, Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business.
So sometime this month, take a few moments to reflect upon the hard work, accomplishments and enduring legacy of this phenomenal woman.
Visit these sites to learn more:
The mission of the AWBC is to develop and strengthen a global network of women's business centers to advance the growth and success of women business owners. Over 100 women's business centers in the United States train and counsel over 150,000 women - and men - annually.
Womenable's mission - to enable women's entrepreneurship worldwide - meshes well with that of the AWBC. Indeed, the two organizations have worked together in the past, and Weeks has worked with the organization in her previous roles at the National Women's Business Council and the Center for Women's Business Research.
In a message to the members of the AWBC announcing her election as board chair, Weeks acknowledged that shared history, stating, "I am truly honored and pleased to have been asked to step in as your new Chair. While I'm officially new to the board, as many of you know I've been involved in women's enterprise development for a number of years, so I'm a long-time friend and fan of the AWBC and of all of you. You are on the front lines and are the "leading edge" of the women business owner movement. As such, you have more power and perspective than you know. I see my role as AWBC chair as working to increase your resources, your organizational capacity, your voice, and your visibility as vanguards of women's economic empowerment." (January 2011)
In their experiment, subjects (guinea pig college students) were more likely to choose a male candidate for CEO when a male-led company was doing well, but a female candidate when times were rough. When the company in question was woman-owned, the "glass cliff" phenomenon disappeared.
The researchers opine that there is a status quo bias at work, and only after more women are seen in high visibility CEO roles will they start getting more chances when times are good as well as bad. (January 2011)
CURRENT EVENTS IN WOMEN'S ENTERPRISE
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NEWS FROM MID-LATE 2012
Click on this link for the news items that appeared on Womenable.com between July and December of 2012.
NEWS FROM EARLY-MID 2012
Click on this link for the news items that appeared on Womenable.com between January and June of 2012.
NEWS FROM MID-LATE 2011
Click on this link for the news items that appeared on Womenable.com between July and December 2011.
NEWS FROM MID-LATE 2010
Click on the link above for news items that appeared on Womenable.com between July and December of 2010.
NEWS FROM EARLY-MID 2010
Click on this link for news items that appeared on Womenable.com between January and June of 2010.
Last Updated: August 11, 2011