AWBC Works for YOU on Capitol Hill
The AWBC has been busy, working on your behalf to ensure continued support and funding for the WBC program. Here's what we've done for you lately:
In May 2011, The AWBC submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the House Small Business Committee regarding the WBC program. In letters to Senators Landrieu and Senator Snowe, Congressman Graves, and Congresswomen Velázquez, we stated:
"We recognize the tough economic times we are under, indeed we see it every day as more and more clients enter our doors. However, as our economic recovery is just getting back underway, this is precisely the wrong time to cut programs that are on the front lines of business creation. Cutting administrative costs, the frequency of reporting requirements, and increasing coordination can lead to greater efficiencies - but cutting direct assistance to new businesses, that provide most of the net new jobs in our economy, would significantly stall our economic recovery."In June 2011, Fran Pastore, AWBC Board Member and President of the WBDC in Connecticut, testified at the Senate Small Business committee hearing. " I draw your attention to the 2007 GAO report that discusses SBA's effectiveness regarding the WBC program, and I recommend that SBA implement a strategic operating plan that eliminates the silos that currently exist between WBCs, SCORE and SBDCs. It is worth a closer look at how institutional processes can be streamlined for each program, rather than simply eliminating an already underfunded program for women that has a proven track record and a documented return on investment of 14:1." Click here to read and download Fran Pastore's testimony.
~ Respectfully submitted on behalf of the board of the AWBC and all WBCs nationwide.
In May - June 2011, the AWBC conducted a survey asking the WBCs to detail the impact of their work in order to respond to the Senate and House Small Business Committees (SBC) continued demand for data driven information about the Women's Business Center program and provide the economic impact of our work. We received a staggering 57% response rate - brava! The results detail:
• WBCs have a significant economic impact;
• WBCs are an efficient and effective use of Federal resources, and;
• WBC program, by design, serves a social as well as an economic function.
Nonetheless, the program serves a significant number of existing business owners by providing a variety of business development support services that are NOT adequate captured by current economic impact assessments.
Click on the following links to read and download the AWBC Research Executive Summary and the AWBC Research Top-line Question Results.
On July 21, 2011, Julie Weeks, AWBC Board Chair, joined representatives of SCORE and ASBDC, as well as the SBA's Office of Entrepreneurial Development, in a roundtable discussion called by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to discuss improved methods of capturing the economic impact of the three entrepreneurial development programs.
The conversation was collegial, productive and forward thinking. "Our new survey results couldn't have come at a better time, as we shared our findings that: 1) WBCs are supporting enterprise development and job creation in ways that are not currently captured, analyzed and reported by the SBA; 2) WBCs are leveraging volunteers at a 5:1 ratio compared to a very lean staff; and 3) that WBC services range well beyond the triage and nascent firm support that formed the majority of program activities a decade ago," stated AWBC Board Chair Julie R. Weeks. "Further, we committed to not only continuing the collaboration we already undertake among WBCs, SBDCs and SCORE at the local level, but to having more conversations among 'SBA resource partners' (as they call us) at the national level."
The fight is not over. The Federal budget remains the subject of intense negotiations between the President and leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives leading up to the August 2 debt limit deadline. Further spending cuts may loom large - but for the present the zeroing out of the WBC program budget has been averted. And, importantly, we now have a report that proclaims and reiterates the tangible report the results of our work. Finally, we want to make sure that you know that we're continuing to engage in the conversations that are making the difference in your federal funding.
Please keep watch for ongoing important AWBC Public Policy Updates. If you are not yet a member of the AWBC, join us and be included. No one else is going to do this important work for you. A voice united assures continuity for the WBC program. To join the AWBC contact Pam Maus, email@example.com.
Ann Marie Almeida Julie Weeks
AWBC President/CEO AWBC Board Chair