ROCKVILLE – Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) and Montgomery County women business leaders for a roundtable discussion about the issues women business owners face as they operate and grow their businesses.
“I take great pride in Maryland’s distinction as the state with the highest concentration of women-owned businesses in the country,” Ranking Member Cardin said. “The women entrepreneurs I heard from this morning affirmed the importance of the vital programs provided by SBA, such as the Maryland Women’s Business Center and the various SBA loan programs. Today’s discussion also made clear that while women entrepreneurs have made great strides, we in Congress must provide SBA with the tools and resources it needs to address the pervasive historical barriers that hinder women, especially minority women, from starting and growing businesses.”
“The work that the Maryland Women’s Business Center is doing to support women entrepreneurs, the fastest growing segment of our economy is critical,” said MWBC Managing Director Kiesha Haughton. “Yet, we find that there are barriers to growth that continue to challenge their propensity for success. We are glad to participate in this important effort spearheaded by Senator Cardin to help bring awareness to the issues that need to be addressed and resolved once and for all.”
“Our economy depends on small businesses for innovation, jobs and opportunities,” said REDI Executive Director Cindy Stewart. “We appreciate Senator Cardin’s efforts to help us grow the opportunities for women-owned and operated businesses in Maryland.”
“I would like to thank Senator Cardin for his leadership and insight,” said Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Board Member Erin Allen. “His strong commitment to small woman-owned businesses is essential to our organization and community.”
“The meeting today is another testament to Senator Cardin’s commitment to the women business community,” said WIPP President and CEO Candace Waterman. “WIPP thanks him for the continued work of leveling the playing field for women-owned businesses across the country.”
Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses in America climbed 20 percent to nearly 13 million, and the annual growth rate of women-owned businesses over the same period was more than double that of all businesses. Despite these great strides, women-owned businesses account for only 42 percent of all businesses, and women-owned businesses remain disadvantaged in federal contracting, capital access, and talent acquisition.
The barriers that hinder the growth of women-owned businesses is particularly important to Maryland, which boasts the highest concentration of women-owned businesses in the country.
In Congress, Ranking Member Cardin has led efforts to increase lending to women-owned businesses, expand opportunities for women innovators to partner with the federal government on groundbreaking research, and support women-owned federal contractors as they grow their businesses.