Tag Archives: Advocacy

Women’s Small Business Month at the WBDC

We live in a world where women truly mean business. Women businesses have made great strides in the last decade. 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women. 85 percent of all consumer purchases in the U.S. are made by women. Women over the age of 50 have a combined net worth of $19 trillion. And globally, women are responsible for $20 trillion in spending, a number that is expected to rise to $28 trillion by the end of 2014.

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Office of Women Business Ownership (OWBO) and Women’s Business Center programs (WBCs) has paved the way for women business owners (WBOs) to succeed in business and expand in the opportunities created from the Women’s Business Ownership Act. The 25th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, a landmark piece of legislation that put an end to state laws that required women to have male relatives sign business loans, has also given women entrepreneurs increased access to counseling and training, capital and contracts.

Despite October being Women’s Small Business Month, the WBDC recognizes and commemorates the fact that women are a dominant driving force to economic growth and development – creating jobs with 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S year round.

It was not that long ago in 1986, when less than 10% of U.S. businesses were women-owned.  In the workplace, women earned only $24,479 to men’s $38,088 in annual wages. These statistics, and the lack of women in positions of power and leadership, spurred Hedy M. Ratner and Carol Dougal to create the WBDC, one of the first women’s business assistance centers in the U.S. The WBDC has grown from a two-person operation to a national leader in women’s economic development.  The WBDC has grown to a staff of 32 full-time employees and consultants, a roster of expert trainers, and a powerful Board of Directors comprised of successful women business leaders from across the WBDC’s nine-state Midwest region.

But importantly, our clients, speak for what we stand for. Ninva Concepcion, owner of Little Kid n Me Daycare/ Learning Center, explains “As a woman entrepreneur, there will always be obstacles and people who try to bring you down, but for every person who doubts you, there will be three people, like Janice, Eva and I, who will encourage you to keep going, stay determined and follow your dreams!” Women like Ninva Concepcion helps to propel the mission of the WBDC, which is to provide services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen their impact on the economy.

Think of women like Hedy, Carol, Ninva and the millions of other women business owners as you build your business or make your purchasing decisions.  Make every month Women in Small Business Month.

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Women’s History Month – What It Means to Millennials

During a regular Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) blog post, we focus on small business, growing your opportunities and raising public awareness. For this article, we’re going to shift our focus to what Women’s History Month means to some of the Millennials or Gen Y staff members at the WBDC and why it is so important to celebrate now, more than ever.


We asked, “Do you think junior to senior high school girls are aware of the suffrage movement?”

Kristin Travis:“Yes, but just like abolition, civil rights, religious, labor union movements, in the minds of youth today this is something that happened a very long time ago, and these issues are such that I believe they (wrongly) think have been resolved.”
Rebecca Glaubke: “I believe that many girls are aware of the suffrage movement but most do not know the details about all that happened and what women had to go through in order to fight for the rights we have now.”

2013 marks the centennial celebration of the first suffragists marching for equal rights to vote.  In the past 100 years, women have seen great changes, both socially and economically, but have the core issues remained?

Bethany Hartley: “In 1913 we were dealing with being stereotyped and told what our position was by men, but today we deal with self-inflicted stereotypes.  The same issues are still there, parity in the workplace, independence, etc. just coming at us from a different angle.”
Kristin: “Our biggest issue is the way we are portrayed to ‘mainstream America.’  The way we are portrayed in reality TV is deplorable.  We are still shown in the media as those who are put in place solely to serve others (children and men): Susie homemakers, the mammies, the soccer moms, the wonder-women, the gold digger…the other.”

On the other side of the coin, change has brought about new issues.  We asked, “What do you think is the number one issue women your age face today?”

Rebecca G.: “I believe the number one issue for women in their early 20s would be employment and living situations. For many women who are my age, it is tough to find a job right away after graduating and being able to afford to live on your own and away from your parents. There are few entry level positions that pay well enough to pay for rent or housing, whether you live by yourself or with roommates. Having few options makes it stressful to find employment that will pay well.”
Carolina Diaz: “I believe the biggest issue for women my age is the struggle to balance personal life with a career.”

From the perspective of the women we talked to, women’s rights is still an important issue – one that has only grown as the number of women in the workforce has increased.  The need for organizations that bring together professional women and educate the next generation is all too relevant. In closing, we looked for a solution, and it’s a simple one that falls on the shoulders of women at any age:

Rebecca Diaz: “Women need to be educated about women’s inequalities in order to fully understand the importance of women’s rights. Read books, articles, use social media and any resource to learn as much as possible. Younger women need to be proactive in advocating for women’s rights. No one is expected to change the world in one day – but encouraging our network of friends, colleagues and our community to enforce education and equality on any level is change in itself. Don’t perpetuate discrimination against women by ignoring and conforming to social and cultural stereotypes. Let’s open our eyes, ignite conversations and demand change.”

We encourage you to share your thoughts on the biggest issues you see for women, young and old.

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Women’s Business Development Center: Your growth is our business. An explanation of the refreshed WBDC logo

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is excited and overwhelmed with pride at the release of our newly refreshed logo!  The logo features the traditional purple and orange color scheme that has become associated with the WBDC’s brand combined with a modern and progressive new icon and layout!

The icon represents the continuous growth the WBDC has experienced over the past 26 years as well as our commitment to partnering with business owners for growth throughout the life cycle of your business.  Leaves surround an upward moving “W” which is set in a forward moving fashion to illustrate the idea of business growth, expansion and advancement.

The new tagline, “Your growth is our business” underscores the WBDC’s continuing commitment to our mission: “To provide services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen their impact on the economy.”  While much progress in women’s business ownership has been made since the WBDC was founded in 1986, there is still much to be done.  The WBDC continues to develop and offer responsive, innovative and effective programs and advocacy efforts.  We’re here to assist you in taking your business to the next level.  

Watch for the new logo to begin appearing on WBDC print materials and online sites!

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