Several major major women’s business organizations have announced a comprehensive action plan to achieve exponential revenue growth and job creation among women’s businesses over the next decade.
Dubbed “The Roadmap to 2020,” the plan was released by nonprofit organization Quantum Leaps, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Association of Women’s Business Owners (NAWBO) at WBENC’s 11th Annual Women in Business National Conference and Business Fair.
The ultimate goal of “Roadmap 2020” is to galvanize the women’s business community, improve the nation’s competitiveness and create at least 6 million new jobs in the next 10 years. “Roadmap 2020 not only tells us how to create more jobs – but also how to improve the quality of those jobs, with higher salaries and better benefits, in growing, innovative companies,” says Virginia Littlejohn, CEO and co-founder of Quantum Leaps.
The “Roadmap 2020” recommendations focus on six key areas:
1. Measuring Economic Impact and Job Creation;
2. Entrepreneurial Training;
3. Innovation, Technology and Sustainability;
4. Accessing Capital;
5. Accessing Markets; and
6. Building the Movement.
“Roadmap 2020’s” 32 core recommendations challenge policymakers, corporations, financial institutions, educators and the women’s business community to enable women-owned businesses to access more capital, get more corporate and government contracts, take responsible risks and expand.
Some of the recommendations include:
- Expanding the role of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) beyond oversight of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program to other initiatives that will help women-owned businesses grow, including access to capital and access to markets;
- increasing communication and collaboration among women’s business groups;
- encouraging federal, state and local governments to accept third-party certifications for women’s business enterprises (WBEs);
- expanding entrepreneurship education into ever younger populations.
Other prescriptions for change in “Roadmap 2020”:
- Start-up companies should focus on growth, not just “income substitution.”
- Companies past the startup stage need vision, strategy, benchmarking, coaching and mentoring.
- Even multimillion-dollar businesses can expand through peer mentoring, global trade, and better access to corporate and government markets.
- No matter what their size, all women-owned businesses need greater access to capital.
Quantum Leaps will organize a strategic think tank in the fall to come up with next steps in implementing the recommendations.
Ten women’s business organizations and 20 companies collaborated on “Roadmap 2020,” including the Association of Women’s Business Centers, Center for Women’s Business Research, Count Me In, Direct Selling Education Foundation, Enterprising Women, WEConnect International, Women Presidents’ Organization, and Women Impacting Public Policy.
As someone who has long advocated for entrepreneurial women, I was really excited to see “Roadmap2020” emerge and look forward to the positive impact I’m certain it will have. You can view the full “Roadmap to 2020” report online.More in: Women Entrepreneurs