October 30, 2017

Hirono, Duckworth Lead Effort to Recognize Women’s Small Business Month in Senate

Washington, D.C.—Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) led a Senate resolution recognizing October as Women’s Small Business Month, and encouraging minority women entrepreneurs.

“National Women’s Small Business Month is an opportunity to celebrate women entrepreneurs in Hawaii, and recommit to creating opportunity for more women to start their own businesses,” said Senator Hirono, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “While the overall trends for women entrepreneurs are positive, I’m proud to introduce this resolution with Sen. Duckworth and Rep. Adams to highlight the gains as well as the challenges particularly facing minority women entrepreneurs. I look forward to continuing to work together to make entrepreneurial opportunities available for all.”

“Minority women-owned businesses not only support hardworking American families and create local jobs – they also have the power to change the economic landscape for entire communities of color,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to support minority women entrepreneurs and I’ll keep working in the Senate to promote economic justice in Illinois and across the country.”

 Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-N.C.) introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives.

“Costly childcare, workplace discrimination, and a lack of career opportunities are just a few of the challenges driving women to become entrepreneurs,” said Congresswoman Adams, Vice Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee. “Women own 38% of small businesses and, in the last decade, 80% of those have been started by minority women, changing the face of small business. As Vice Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee I’m proud to support minority women entrepreneurs and I’ll continue to champion solutions to the unique challenges facing female business owners.”

The resolution recognizes the achievements of women and minority women entrepreneurs in the workforce. In addition, it supports increasing opportunities to grow minority women-owned small businesses.

Minority women represent the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, owning nearly 5 million small businesses across the nation. In addition, the number of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women-owned small businesses has more than doubled from 2007 to 2016.

“One of the ways that the National Women’s Business Council hopes to focus the attention of policy officials on the needs of women small business owners during this October’s National Small Business Month is through our recent release of a new research paper on ‘necessity entrepreneurship’ in the United States. Necessity as a Driver of Women’s Entrepreneurship: Her Stories seeks to expand the traditional definition of necessity entrepreneurship which largely focuses on the concept of ‘survival entrepreneurship’ or ‘emergency entrepreneurship,’” said Esther Morales, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council. “Necessity entrepreneurship tends to be contrasted with so-called ‘opportunity entrepreneurship,’ a phrase that conjures an image of a market disrupter with a brilliant idea. The Council recognizes that this distinction between the ‘pushed’ or ‘pulled’ into business ownership is limited to the extent that it limits our imagination for strong support structures and policy intervention.”

Senator Hirono is a strong advocate for increasing opportunities for women and minorities in small businesses. Earlier this year she introduced legislation to promote women and minorities pursing STEM professions and careers.