As the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I am looking forward to the White House Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference that will be held here at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Monday, October 4th. This event will bring together a mix of business owners, leaders from the women’s community, administration officials, academics and lenders to discuss the critical challenges, opportunities and solutions needed to move the women’s business agenda to the next level. We will be broadcasting the Conference live at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/live on Monday, October 4th from 12:30 – 1:30 PM EST. for the opening panel and 3:30 PM EST. for the closing remarks, I strongly encourage you to watch.
Women-owned businesses are a critical part of America’s 21st century economy. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 44%, twice as fast as men-owned firms. During this period, women-owned businesses added roughly 500,000 jobs, while other private firms lost jobs. The most recent data show that women-owned businesses have annual sales/receipts of $1.2 trillion. Even during this trying economic time, women-owned businesses continue to create jobs. As we continue on the path to recovery, women-owned businesses will play an essential role in growing the economy and putting Americans back to work.
At the same time, women-owned businesses have their own unique set of challenges and we must find the best way to solve these problems.
From day one, the President has recognized the vital role women-owned businesses play in our economic prosperity. The Administration has already implemented a number of initiatives that support women-owned businesses through the Recovery Act, the Small Business Jobs Act and other legislation over the past 21 months.
But we can’t stop there. And we can’t do this alone. Partnering with the private sector to ensure the next generation of women business owners have the training and the tools they need is the way we can ensure women-owned businesses continue to grow.
This event brings together a great group of people from across the country. We will start out with a panel moderated by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, with participation by Bobbi Brown, Founder of Bobbi Brown, Theresa Daytner, CEO of Daytner Construction Group, Rebecca Blank, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the US Department of Commerce and Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator at the Small Business Administration.
We look forward to continuing the conversation about the importance of creating opportunities for women and fostering their entrepreneurial spirit and will help us learn more about the ways in which we can serve the entrepreneurs of America even better.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls