By Dorothy Price Hill & Mary Smith
As we progress through October, we wish to acknowledge “Women’s Small Business Month” and to honor women for their contributions to the US economy. Governor Romney believes that economic prosperity and freedom go hand in hand. He recently stated,
“The most successful countries shared something in common. They were the freest. They protected the rights of the individual. They enforced the rule of law. And they encouraged free enterprise. They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty – and kept people out of poverty.”
With this in mind, we will discuss legislative achievements that have propelled women to be a dynamic and vital part of the US economy. Additionally, we will discuss women-owned businesses from a legislative perspective. Governor Romney will ensure women (including millions of working mothers) continue to thrive and be a vital force in our economy’s recovery and we will identify challenges faced by women owned businesses.
When considering the Presidential choices before us, it is important to note that past behavior is the greatest predictor of future behavior. In this regard, President Obama is the antithesis of Governor Romney. The current President has expanded government, increased the deficit and proposed higher taxes which would further cripple America small businesses. Since President Obama became President, gas prices have increased, household incomes have fallen and more Americans have sunk into poverty as well as experienced first-time foreclosure of their only home (or have already completed the foreclosure process). Worse yet, he has added over $5 trillion in new debt to our Federal budget deficit and lacks the leadership to bring our government back from the edge of this fiscal cliff. In 2009, small businesses represented 99.7% of all employers in the United States. Think about your local florist, the daycare center and the automobile repair center. These business owners are increasingly concerned about the Federal and State deficits, the burdens of corporate taxes and the Obamacare Federal healthcare mandate.
Quoting Andrea Saul, Governor Romney’s Press Secretary, “Thanks to President Obama’s imaginary recovery, the median earnings for women declined by nearly $1,000. And the poverty rate among women is 16.3% — the highest rate in 17 years.” And as CNN Money stated, “The ‘mancession’ has morphed into the ‘hecovery,’ leaving women workers largely in the dust.” Make no mistake about it — women are worried. And they’re not just worried about themselves — they’re worried about their children’s future. They don’t want them to be saddled with debt from our generation, which has surpassed a record-high $16 trillion. This isn’t the recovery we deserve — and it’s a not a real recovery if it means that women have to take on two or three jobs just to afford to put gas in their cars and food on the table.”
Unlike President Obama, Governor Romney gets it: women drive the US economy. His pro-growth, pro-women plan for a stronger (and rebounding) middle class means more jobs, more take-home pay, and better opportunities. Governor Romney has devoted his entire life since business school and law school supporting successful ventures and advising businesses on transformation. As Governor of Massachusetts, he led by example embracing diversity and seeking the most qualified candidates for his cabinet and executive offices. In Governor Romney’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, he stated, “As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.” His proposals for his Presidency include reducing government spending and creating a business-friendly environment which will provide opportunity for prosperity and success. Without prosperity and success coupled with tackling the budget deficit, future generations of Americans will be doomed.
We will discuss two key pieces of legislation that have positively and profoundly impacted women and the economy. As we embark on this new century, it is important to reflect on the accomplishments that women in business have achieved. On October 25, 1988, Republican President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law (PL) 100-533 “The Women’s Business Ownership Act”. Highlights of this bill included:
- Women were no longer required to have a male relative sign a business loan which nullified previous state laws
- The U.S. Census Bureau was required to include C corporations when presenting data on women-owned firms
- The Women’s Business Center (WBC) program was established
For example, WBCs “represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to assist women start and grow small businesses. WBCs operate with the mission to ‘level the playing field’ for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the world of business.” The Women’s Business Ownership Act empowered women and gave them the freedom to obtain business financing independently. When this bill was signed into law, no one could have imaged that two decades later, “10.1 million American businesses would be owned by women (50% or higher majority ownership), employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales”. The Guardian Small Business Research Institute projects that “women-owned businesses will create 5 to 5.5 million new jobs by 2018 – more than half the 9.7 million new small business jobs expected to be created and about one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018.” Freedom empowers citizens and thus their accomplishments become immeasurable. Everyone benefits! According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), “3% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more compared with 6% of men-owned firms.” Governor Romney is the clear choice in encouraging current and inspiring women business owners to reach for the stars. If a woman can run a local business in Chicago, why not run a national business and attain the same success as her male competitors? Success begets success and what other business mentor for aspiring business leaders than Governor Romney?
Federal law 15 USCS § 644 (g) requires a 5% government-wide procurement goal for women-owned business. We specifically address this law as it pertains to women-owned businesses. The Obama Administration has continuously failed to meet the Federal procurement requirements for women owned businesses. Women-owned businesses were only awarded 4.1% of all government contracts in fiscal year 2011. Considering the contributions that women-owned businesses make to the economy, this is simply unacceptable. Failure is not the American way.
In order to put the Obama Administration’s failure in perspective, we refer to an August 2012 interview which President Obama granted to Mr. Dingle of Black Enterprise. Mr. Dingle asked the President, “Major corporations have received billions in government contracts meant for small businesses. How is your administration addressing this?”
President Obama conceded, “This has been historically true.” The article goes on to say that, “Federal contracting is so complicated and contracts are so large that unless you had a Washington office—lawyers, a battery of accountants, etc.—you couldn’t navigate through the Federal procurement process. I told every single member of my cabinet, “I want you to increase transparency, simplify the process, make sure that the goals that we have for small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses are prioritized inside your agency, and think about other ways that we can break up these contracts into smaller pieces so that smaller businesses could actually bid for them. And we’ve actually seen significant progress in a lot of these agencies.” Dingle (2012.) President Obama ran on a platform of hope and change. In this interview, he acknowledged his inability to lead and change during his four year term as president. President Obama admitted his failure to meet these goals. He instilled hope among small business owners, including women and minorities, only to disappoint them with empty promises. Can small business owners afford to keep President Obama on the payroll for another four years?
Having successfully navigated the public and private sectors, Governor Romney will undoubtedly leverage his stellar national and global business and finance acumen, both of which are invaluable to creating effective fiscal policies. In addition, his proven track record in streamlining bureaucratic procedures will ensure compliance with laws such as Federal Law 15 USCS § 644 (g). Effective strategies enable America to maintain a competitive global advantage in technology, communication and transportation.
Despite the accomplishments that many women have achieved, many still face challenges such as equal access to credit and capital. Even with Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification, many women are still having difficulty securing an equitable share of government contracts. Stronger laws need to be enacted to address these inequities and for increased disclosure and reporting. Global economic stability is also crucial for women-owned businesses. We need a leader like Governor Mitt Romney who believes in hiring and seeking the best people for the job; he has proven that excellence is neither gender- nor race-specific.
American ingenuity and business have positively transformed our country and the world since the 1800s. At the beginning of the twentieth century, our ancestors could not have imagined the conveniences we take for granted today. Just think about the possibilities when the US government functions as it should and when citizens are free to develop their respective talents. When we vote, we must choose a leader who will preserve, protect and defend the United States of America including our US Constitution. We need a leader who truly cares about his fellow Americans and who is guided by a moral compass based on strong family values and the untapped positive potential of women in our families, neighborhoods, public service and businesses. Governor Romney referred to the US Constitution during the first Presidential debate and he always holds his hand over his heart when he pledges allegiance to the US flag. As you head to the voting booth, ask yourself: “Are my family and I better off today than we were four years ago”? Therein lies the answer. Fellow Americans, we can do so much better – and we will with Mitt Romney at the helm. Let’s do that together: as One Nation, Undivided, Under God.
- Women’s Business Centers (Retrieved 10/1/12)
- Dingle, D. (2012) (Retrieved 9/25/12)
- Wyatt, J. (Retrieved 9/28/12)
- TITLE 15. COMMERCE AND TRADE CHAPTER 14A. AID TO SMALL BUSINESS (Lexis Nexis retrieved 9/28/12)
Dorothy A. Price Hill is a global consultant and resides in Manhasset, New York with her family. A graduate of Dartmouth College with a MBA from NYU Stern School of Business in Finance and Information Technology, she worked for the Council on Foreign Relations, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. She helped to build 85Broads.com to over 42,000 members globally and remains active in what is now the largest network of professional women globally. Fluent in French and German, Ms. Hill has worked and lived in Japan, Germany, France, the UK and Switzerland. She serves on the Manhasset Schools’ Citizens Advisory Committee for Finance and since 2004, she has led fundraising for HedgeFundsCare.org (awareness, treatment and prevention of child abuse). She grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts (the same hometown as the late US Navy SEAL Glen Doherty) and is a member of The Congregational Church in Manhasset.
Mary L. Smith has worked as a Banking Relationship Manager for three prestigious banking institutions. During her career, she worked with high net worth individuals and business owners. For Ms. Smith, learning what motivates a business owner is fascinating; each business owner has a unique story. It has been her experience that every business owner has an intrinsic belief that they have something special to offer. America is the place which provides an opportunity to turn beliefs and dreams into reality. Motivated by her beliefs that people are an organization’s greatest assets, Ms. Smith obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management. Additionally, she holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology.