This past March, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE) assisted in the establishment of the first-ever bipartisan Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus. The new Caucus is co-chaired by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tim Scott (R-SC), and also includes Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Gary Peters (D-MI), David Perdue (R-GA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Tina Smith (D-MN).
The Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus is very interested in the unique issues and challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs. In recent years, only about 17 percent of new businesses were launched by women and female entrepreneurs receive only about 2 percent of venture capital. And yet some research suggests that women may be launching new businesses at higher rates than men, even as they confront unique challenges as entrepreneurs, particularly with regard to securing financing and managing family responsibilities.
Meanwhile, recent research and evidence collected by CAE by way of roundtables with women founders suggest that women entrepreneurs differ from their male counterparts in significant ways. For example, women appear to start businesses for different reasons than men; run their businesses differently; have different objectives and goals for their businesses; grow their businesses more slowly than men, but have higher rates of success; and, take a different approach to financing their new businesses.
At CAE’s invitation, the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus has agreed to participate in a special roundtable discussion of the issues, challenges, and needs of women entrepreneurs with 22 women business founders from across the United States. The roundtable will take place in Washington, DC on September 24, 2019. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tim Scott will serve as honorary co-hosts of the event, and Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will moderate the discussion.
CAE is strongly of the view that thriving entrepreneurship is the essential pathway back to the faster economic growth and expanding opportunity the American people need and deserve. Economic growth is propelled by gains in productivity, driven by innovation – which comes disproportionately from new businesses. Revitalizing American entrepreneurship, in turn, requires far higher rates of participation by women entrepreneurs. And closing the gap between male and female entrepreneurship requires a rigorous, evidence-based understanding of why the present disparity exists.
It is our hope that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Roundtable hosted by the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus will be an important first step toward understanding and addressing the unique challenges and barriers that confront women entrepreneurs in America.