Pella Chronicle: Ernst attends roundtable in Pella

The National Women’s Business Council hosted a small business roundtable Thursday at Central College. The event was attended by around 30 people, including Sen. Joni Ernst, local women small business owners and those engaged in assisting and promoting small business at the state and national level.

The roundtable was looking to discuss challenges that rural women business owners face in setting up and running businesses. National Women’s Business Council Chair Liz Sara said that she was very happy with the turn out for the event.

“I’m very excited about the large turnout that we had from women business owners around Iowa, not just in Pella and the representation that was exhibited through the varied companies that they own and that they are currently running,” said Sara.

Sen. Ernst agreed and said the event was a great way to bring together women leaders.

“The women’s small business roundtable was wonderful and a really great opportunity to meet so many women leaders throughout the community that really do have that great entrepreneurial spirit and talk about some of the challenges that they have had and … how they’ve turned those into opportunities,” said Ernst.

Sara said the roundtable was an important way to help the National Women’s Business Council better understand the unique challenges that women business owners face in rural areas.

“Understanding what we can do to help overcome some of those challenges is going to be an important part of how we take this whole issue of women in rural areas to the next step to make their companies more successful and then increase opportunities for more women in those communities to start more companies,” said Sara.

Those in attendance spoke about their backgrounds and businesses and some of the challenges they have faced in owning businesses as well as some ways that they might become more engaged in the community including participating in career days in schools and mentoring younger women.

Ernst said some issues that were discussed that she has already been engaged with are the costs of health care for small businesses, taxes and child care. Ernst said one issue she is currently working on with Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth is how to promote women-owned businesses to get more contracts with the Department of Defense.

“What we want to do is to focus a little more on women owned businesses, how can we can engage them further,” said Ernst.

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