Senator Collins, Bipartisan Group Introduce Bill to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), along with Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), introduced the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2020.  This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize a federal interagency committee that helps coordinate federal resources to encourage the formation, growth, and success of women-owned businesses. There are currently an estimated 13 million women-owned businesses operating in the United States, employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion. This bill would build on this progress by reviving the Interagency Committee for Women’s Business Enterprise (ICWBE).


“Small businesses are the foundation of our nation’s economic strength,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would reauthorize the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise, providing information and resources for women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs.”


The ICWBE was established in 1979, and its work was critical to the efforts of several federal agencies and departments to develop policies to assist women business owners. The Interagency Committee was maintained through both Democratic and Republican administrations but has been inactive since 2000 with no chairperson to operate it. The efforts to better coordinate federal resources are critical to make sure that women entrepreneurs receive the assistance they need to help start and grow their business enterprises.


The Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2020 would amend Title IV of the Women’s Business Ownership Act to reauthorize the interagency committee by making sure a chairperson is appointed, which would help increase the ability of the federal government to provide targeted assistance to women entrepreneurs as they seek to start and grow their businesses. It would also update the agencies and departments that would coordinate to make sure all resources are being used effectively. This bill would update the interagency mission to identify the barriers women business owners and women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses.


Organizations that support this legislation include: National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), Small Business Majority, Center for American Entrepreneurship, Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOEUSA), National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).