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Ernst, Shaheen Honor Female Entrepreneurs During National Women’s Small Business Month

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, led a bipartisan group of senators in a resolution that recognizes October 2023 as National Women’s Small Business Month and celebrates the contributions of female entrepreneurs. The resolution passed with unanimous support.

“Until 1988, women needed a male relative to co-sign if they wanted to apply for a business loan. Now, in 2023, more than 12 million women-owned small businesses across the country are working hard each and every day to serve customers, create jobs, and boost their local economies,” said Ranking Member Ernst. “I will continue working to improve accountability at the Small Business Administration, expand access to childcare slots in our communities, and enhance mentorship opportunities for budding beginners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. When our local businesses thrive, so does our country!”

“Women entrepreneurs are at the center of our economy creating new businesses, disrupting established industries and developing innovative products and platforms at a record pace. Despite positive trends, women-owned businesses still face significant institutional barriers like lack of access to quality childcare, fewer role models and mentors, a gender pay gap and unequal access to startup funding and financing,” said Chair Shaheen. “As a former small business owner, I know there is nothing that women cannot achieve if given an equal opportunity to compete. This resolution helps underscore our bipartisan commitment to help women-owned small businesses across the country reach their full economic and job-creating potential. Today – and every day – we must match that commitment with action.”


Ernst has long been committed to expanding pathways to women’s entrepreneurship. She has worked to improve access to childcare in rural communities, boost mentorship opportunities for female entrepreneurs, and eliminate fraud in the Women-Owned Small Business contracting program. She also advocated for the consistent allocation of resources in the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center program, noting that Iowa only has one center to service the entire state. There are over 93,900 women-owned small businesses in Iowa.

The resolution highlights the significant contributions of women small business owners and entrepreneurs to the small business community:

  • There are over 12 million women-owned businesses in the United States;
  • Women-owned businesses generate $1.8 trillion in total receipts;
  • Women-owned businesses employ over $9.2 million workers; and
  • 38 percent of small businesses are women-owned.

Read the resolution text here.