21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship

Majority Report of the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 23 July 2014

Three areas of concentration are highlighted: (1) access to capital, (2) access to federal contracts, and (3) access to relevant business training and counseling. The report found that women face challenges in accessing both conventional loans as well as venture funds.

While the US has strong infrastructure in support for women entrepreneurs through the network of Women Business Centres with positive client outcomes, the lack of growth and certainty in funding hampers their impact.

Recommendations to address these shortcoming included improving and modernizing the federal Microloan (up to $50,000) and Intermediary Lending Programs (between $50,000-$200,000), and increasing program funding and grant awards of Women Business Centres to keep up with increasing demand and evolving needs of women entrepreneurs.

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