Economic Stimulus Sought for Women-Owned Businesses
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a bipartisan public policy group that advocates on behalf of women and minorities in business, recently called on Congress and the Presidential candidates to provide the economic stimulus needed to unleash the full potential of women-owned and small businesses and increase women-owned businesses, jobs and the gross domestic product.
The call-to-action — the ”Economic Blueprint: The Women Business Owners' Platform for Growth” — was released during the Democratic and Republican conventions. The blueprint is “designed to fuel the growth of women’s enterprise development in the United States from 2009 to 2020,” according to the plan's executive summary.
WIPP outlined six areas where a stimulus for women business owners is needed:
- Healthcare. The blueprint calls for increased access to small and individual insurance markets; an interconnected nationwide health technology system; an increase in the number of healthcare providers; and a program to promote healthy employees.
- Procurement. To bolster procurement opportunities, the blueprint calls on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to implement a Real Women’s Procurement Program, strengthen small business contracting and give small businesses more contracts.
- Taxes. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, firms with fewer than 20 employees spend 45% more per employee to comply with federal regulations and 67% more per employee on tax compliance than larger companies.
To level the playing field and help women-owned businesses, WIPP proposes that the Congress retain the tax incentives for small businesses that are due to expire in 2011; that the tax code be reformed to make deductions and credits equally applicable to small business, no matter the structure of the company; that the estate tax be permanently repealed; and that Congress provide permanent relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
- Access to Capital. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, larger, faster-growing women-owned firms are more likely than their smaller, female-owned counterparts to use credit. In addition, these firms more often rely on business earnings as their primary funding source than their male-owned counterparts.
The center also found that women, on average, made four attempts to obtain bank loans or lines of credit and 22 attempts to obtain equity capital before eventually persevering.
To improve access to capital for women-owned business, WIPP calls for more tax incentives for investors, government technical assistance and a more competitive interest rate within the SBA loan program.
- Energy. To alleviate the impact of rising energy costs on small business, WIPP’s plan calls on Congress to assure an adequate supply of energy; provide research and development incentives to develop new, cutting-edge energy technologies; and assist small businesses in their efforts to conserve energy, beginning with an SBA pilot program on energy conservation.
- Telecommunications. Recognizing that a very small percentage of television and radio stations are owned by women, and that 66% of small businesses use high-speed, broadband Internet access to increase workplace efficiency, the WIPP blueprint calls for increased women and minority ownership of telecommunications stations as well as broadband access to all businesses, whether in urban or rural locations.
The WIPP plan also calls on Congress to keep the Internet free of cumbersome regulation, to permanently extend the Internet tax moratorium and to ensure privacy security across the Internet.
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