White House Women's Entrepreneurship Conference: Opening Session


Uploaded by whitehouse on 04.10.2010

Transcript:
Ms. Tchen: Well, welcome to the White House.
Good afternoon.
My name is Tina Tchen.
I am the director of the White House Office
of Public Engagement.
And I also have the privilege of serving as the executive
director of the White House Council of Women and Girls,
which is the host for today's White House Conference on
Women's Entrepreneurship.
We are thrilled to have you here to highlight the importance of
women entrepreneurs.
I actually have just returned from Gifu, Japan,
where last Friday, I had the honor of representing the
president at the first ever Summit on Women's
Entrepreneurship held by the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation group.
It was hosted jointly by our government and
the government of Japan.
And there, we heard representatives from
the 21 economies that make up APEC.
Where they heard from women entrepreneurs,
just like yourselves, and discussed -- where those
women discussed the challenges they faced;
many that are so similar to the challenges that we face here in
the United States.
And when I told them that we would be convening this
conference, here, today at the White House they cheered.
So our efforts are really linked with women entrepreneurs around
the world each working to fulfill their own dreams and
building and strengthening their own economies.
So we have a busy day planned today so here -- I'm going to
give you a little overview.
We are going to begin with a keynote address from my boss,
Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President,
who is also chair of the White House Council
on Women and Girls.
She will be followed by our outstanding Administrator;
the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills.
And then you will hear from a panel and some of whom are
here on the stage already.
They include Bobby Brown, who is the CEO
of Bobby Brown Cosmetics.
(applause)
Theresa Daytner who is the CEO of the Daytner Corporation.
(applause)
Maria Johns, who is the deputy administrator of the Small
Business Administration.
(applause)
And Doctor Rebecca Blank who is the under Secretary for
the Department of Commerce.
(applause)
And the empty chair is for Mika Brzezinski, who is on her way.
Following the panel, you all will be split up into breakout
session so we can hear from you and learn from you about what's
working and what else needs to be done.
Each discussion will be lead by a member of our administration
together with someone from the private sector.
Look on your nametags.
The room numbers where you are, are on the nametags and after we
break up you can look for my staff who will be there to guide
you to where in this building you need to go.
And then following the break up, you will all come back here.
You will hear report outs from each of your session so that we
can learn from that and we will hear a closing from
Administrator Mills.
So with that I would like to bring to the podium my dear
friend, my boss, someone with whom it's just a pleasure and
a privilege to work with every day, Valerie Jarrett.
(applause)
Ms. Jarrett: Tina knows what a klutz I am.
I said I'm going to try not to break my neck when I walk over.
Good afternoon, everybody.
We are just delighted to have you here.
And on behalf of the White House Council on Women and Girls,
I welcome you to the White House.
I want to thank my colleagues from the Small Business
Administration, from the Federal Reserve Bank and from the
departments of Treasury and Commerce and SBA for their
help in organizing today's event.
I also want to thank Bobby Brown, Theresa Daytner,
Maria Johns and Dr. Blanks, all who are just icons within our
world and who we are delighted to have on the panel as well.
They'll be more fully introduced to you shortly.
And of course, I want to recognize in absentia
Mika Brzezinski for moderating the panel.
I was just e-mailing with Mika, and Mika is never late,
I want everybody to know.
And, in fact, she got up this morning and left the set of
"Morning Joe" in order to get here on time.
But as everybody knows, the weather is terrible,
and her train was late.
And so she's on her way, but she'll be here any second.
So without her here, I want to say I have an enormous amount
of respect for her.
I think that having her here really helps to extend the reach
of this event, and it raises the profile of the importance
of this event to women entrepreneurs and what
that means to our overall economy.
And both Mika and her partner on the show, Joe Scarborough,
have really used their platform to highlight important issues
facing America, from education last week to exercise -- we all
walked around the Mall a few weeks ago -- to broadcasting
live from Pensacola, Florida, focusing on
the Gulf restoration.
And so we really want to congratulate them for using
that platform to lift up important issues.
Now, Joe is always late, so we're not surprised
that he's not here.
He actually e-mailed, too.
He's on the train, and he said he wanted to be here from the
beginning because he knew that I was going to tease him, which,
of course, I was looking forward to do.
But he doesn't have to be here for me to tease, Joe.
(laughter)
But in seriousness, I will say this about Joe.
He has been very supportive of Mika and having somebody whose
show it is show support for his partner is really
important as well.
And so without him here, I can say he's been terrific as well,
and we're glad that he's coming.
And when he gets here, we'll just tease him all over again.
So we're here today because President Obama knows what
a crucial role women entrepreneurs play in
our overall economic health.
And supporting women-owned small business is a very important
part of the many steps that the president has taken to rebuild
our economy and to strengthen it for the future.
He's used the recovery act to help us pull us back from the
economic brink of disaster.
He's achieved the most sweeping financial reforms
since the Great Depression.
He has launched the National Export Initiative to help U.S.
companies compete in emerging markets and to support U.S.
businesses that want to sell their goods
and services overseas.
Later today, the president is going to be meeting with
his Economic Recovery Advisory Board,
and they're going to discuss the launching of a new initiative,
Skills for America's Future.
And it's a part of our new effort to partner the public
and the private sector to ensure that we work together
to strengthen our workforce by preparing Americans for
the jobs of the future.
And then tomorrow, Dr. Biden, together with President Obama
will be hosting our first- ever White House Summit on Community
Colleges, which will highlight the crucial role the community
colleges play in developing America's workforce and reaching
our educational goals.
Because President Obama knows that our nation's success in the
21st century depends on workers having the skills and the
knowledge that they need to compete with workers all
over the world, that's why we're putting this emphasis
where we are.
So we've come a long way since January of 2009 when
the president took office.
And our economy was contracting then, and it's growing now.
And we've seen eight straight months of
private-sector job growth.
But we all know that there's much work to be done.
And that's why we're here today, because we know that
the continued strengthening of our economy depends on women
entrepreneurs, women like Theresa on our panel today.
Theresa, I'm going to give you a quick shout out.
Theresa is the CEO and the president of Dayton Construction
Company, a company she started.
And it has grown exponentially over the last few years,
from gross revenues of just over $1 million in 2008 to
$3.5 million last year to $16 million this year.
How about that?
(applause)
And she's been starting and building businesses for more
than 20 years, including a roofing company and an
accounting firm that she originally ran from her home,
but that's not all.
Guess what else you need to know?
She's married with six children and one grandchild.
Can you believe this?
(applause)
I have one daughter, and that was more than an ocean.
But in addition to her six children and her one grandchild,
she also took care of her parents as they
battled cancer and MS.
So she is the epitome of a successful businesswoman
who has had to balance the demands of her family life.
And so we're really delighted, Theresa,
that you're here so you can tell us all how you did it,
and help us figure out how to help you more.
Women entrepreneurs who demonstrate perseverance,
drive and multitasking talents that really exemplify what we
want to show to the rest of the world,
that's what we have in Theresa who is right here.
And it's qualities like these that have always made small
businesses the backbone of our economy.
And increasingly those small businesses are powered by women.
The number of women-owned businesses is growing almost
twice as fast as those of men-owned businesses.
They account for more than a trillion dollars in sales,
and employ almost 8 million workers.
And while other private firms have lost jobs,
women-owned small businesses have actually been hiring.
But as we all know, women entrepreneurs also still
face a unique set of challenges.
And shortly, Dr. Blank, the undersecretary of Economic
Affairs for the Commerce Department will outline her new
report on how these challenges have to be faced and
addressed by our panel.
And the most recent data available,
which brings us through the year 2007 -- her report covers the
years of 1997 through 2007 -- it shows that while women-owned
small businesses constitute a rising force in our economy,
the individual firms nonetheless struggle with access to capital,
have lower survival rates and don't grow as fast as
businesses owned by men.
That will be of no surprise to those of you in this room.
So there's still a lot of work to be done to foster
the development of women entrepreneurs.
And from day one, President Obama has worked hard to
address these challenges.
So, for example, the president used the recovery act to infuse
much-needed capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs
so that they can grow their businesses.
More than $3 billion in SBA recovery loans and another
1.8 billion (dollars) in federal recovery act contracts have been
awarded to women-owned businesses.
And on top of this, last week the president signed finally
the small business jobs bill.
(applause)
The new law provides more tax relief for small businesses,
and increases the size of SBA loans.
Now, it's too bad that the bill was stalled for months,
because every single day it was blocked was another day
that small businesses went without this critical support.
But we have it now, and it's law.
Eight more small-business tax cuts are now available on top
of the eight that were already enacted.
Capital gains taxes for investments in small businesses
are eliminated, and there are tax breaks to self-employed
Americans to help on their health care insurance,
as well as to anybody else opening a new business.
Loans will be expanded to more than 1,400 small businesses,
and the size limits of the most popular SBA loans will be
doubled, which will help young women entrepreneurs get the
access to capital that they need to bring their
businesses to scale.
The SBA has played such a vital role in so many of the
administration's efforts, and we are proud to announce that they
also are adding four new women business centers in 2010.
That's added to the 110 that they already have up and
running now around the country.
These new centers, which will open in Arkansas and New
Hampshire and Kentucky and Texas will offer the training and the
technical assistance, and the advice that
women entrepreneurs need to succeed in today's economy.
And later you're going to hear some very exciting news about
how the administration is increasing opportunities for
women-owned businesses to get federal contracts as well.
We're confident that all of this is going to be a real
shot in the arm to America's entrepreneurs.
And we also know that in order to be competitive globally,
we need to not only give tax breaks and increase loans,
but build the flexible workplaces that our
workers and our entrepreneurs need to compete.
Already, businesses across the country are increasing
opportunities by teleworking, flex time,
comprehensive work weeks, supportive child and elder care,
and so much more.
And they're doing it because it's good for their workers,
but it's also good for their bottom line.
That's why the president and the first lady hosted a workplace
flexibility forum right here in the White House this past
spring, where we highlighted and explored the best practices in
the private and public sector.
The Department of Labor is also hosting regional meetings that
kick off this month in Dallas, with a conference that focuses
on small businesses.
And it's why the recovery act included $2 billion in child
care subsidy, and 2.1 billion (dollars) in Head Start and
early childhood Start which are also proposed to be continued
and expanded along with our proposal for nearly doubling
the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, for those who care
for their aging and disabled relatives.
Here with the federal government,
we are leading by example, by promoting more opportunities
to telework, and launch pilot projects to improve flexibility
in our workplace here at the federal level.
We're doing all of this because we understand the
unique pressures and the challenges of women-owned
businesses such as yourself.
You're not only managers and leaders.
You're mothers. You're breadwinners.
And so here at the White House Council on Women and Girls,
we're working hard to make your balancing act just a
little bit easier.
But I doubt any of you choose to be -- chose to be a self-made
business owner because you thought it would
make your life easy.
That's not why you got into what you're doing.
And maybe Theresa said it best when she said that people start
businesses because -- and to quote Theresa --
"Mostly we share a desire to create our own destiny."
That's the spirit that sustains you.
That's the spirit that helps you with the balancing act.
That's the spirit that we're depending on to drive this
economy towards a brighter future and
a more competitive future.
So, finally, I want to emphasize that today is just one part of
our conversation.
The SBA is going to continue the dialogue long after today
with regional events around the country.
And now I'd like to introduce to you somebody who is not only an
extraordinary administrator, as Tina mentioned,
but a dear person, a decent person, a wonderful manager,
and someone who has brought new life to the SBA,
and who really is there working hard on behalf of women-owned
entrepreneurs each and every day.
So please join me in welcoming Karen Mills.
Karen?
Ms. Jarrett: Be careful. Be careful.
Ms. Mills: Well, welcome everybody,
and thank you all for being here and making the effort
to spend this time with us.
And thanks to Valerie and to Tina Tchen for what goes on
here at the White House and in the White House Office of Women
and Girls, and really across the whole Administration.
We have incredible leadership here for women entrepreneurs,
extraordinary leadership, and it is not just at the White House,
and it's not just at the SBA, it's really all across the
Administration, and it's set by my boss, the President,
cares deeply about these issues and all these issues related to
women and women entrepreneurs.
And the reason is because, as Valerie said,
it's not just a nice to do to help women-owned small
businesses, you all know this, it's because it's
critical to our economy.
It's critical because women entrepreneurs are one of the
fastest growing segments of our economy;
women-owned businesses account for about a trillion in sales,
they employ nearly 8 million workers,
and that's one of the reasons why the SBA is so engaged and
so involved here today in promoting entrepreneurship.
But we're not the only ones.
We have Becky Blank and the whole team from the Department
of Commerce, who works extensively on these issues.
The Federal Reserve has worked with us and held about 40 events
all around the country, the Department of Labor
has a big initiative in workforce flexibility,
and we've seen a lot of public-private partnerships.
I think there are folks here from ACIA, anybody?
Yes.
Really great leadership.
And the Shriver report.
And we've got a new study from Patricia Greene.
Are you here?
Yes.
That was released through the Center for
Women's Business Research.
So I can't mention everybody, but we have enormous connections
to advocacy groups who are here and other private and public
sector groups who have supported women all around the country,
particularly women entrepreneurs.
So what's our goal today?
Our goal is what we call link, leverage, and align.
Make all of these forces around women entrepreneurship
throughout the Administration and out in the private sector
universe work together by focusing our goals.
We do this a lot at the SBA because as you know,
we are more likely, we are three to five times more likely,
in fact, to make loans to women and minority-owned businesses
than a conventional lender.
We are engaged pretty much all the time in providing access and
opportunity in three ways, what we call the three C's: Capital,
counseling, and contracting.
And I'm going to talk a little bit about each one of them.
As you know, women entrepreneurs had a hard time in this economic
downturn, as did most small businesses,
and that's why it was so important that in the Recovery
Act we were able to increase our loan guarantees.
We put about $30 billion into the hands of small businesses,
about $3 billion in the hands of women-owned small businesses,
about 12,000 Recovery Act loans.
We helped 12,000 women-owned businesses over --
with the Recovery Act funds, and just recently,
we were able to accept, get Congress to pass the
Small Business Jobs Act.
Additional core funding for programs that worked to provide
access to capital and many, many other important programs that
are going to allow small businesses to get the tools they
need so that they can grow and that we can get back to economic
growth, prosperity, and create jobs.
One of the most important things that we do, though,
is around small business contracting.
It may be the largest government public sector activity around
driving economic value to small businesses.
It's about $100 billion a year.
And in the year 2000, Congress wanted to extend
some of those economic tools to women-owned small businesses,
so they passed the Women's Contracting Rule.
Well, it's now 2010, and I am very happy to make a
major announcement right now.
We are going to, today, the rule is done and we are posting it
today, and it's going to be published officially tomorrow.
So that we now have, after ten years,
an official Women's Contracting Rule.
It is a 5% statutory goal, and we have identified 80 industries
where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.
We went out; we got comments from over a thousand women
leaders, including many of you who are here today,
to shape this rule.
So I really want to thank you for your participation
in that process.
And we over the next four months are going to move
to full implementation.
We're creating a -- using technology,
to create a user-friendly database.
We're going to have a secure online storage portal where we
put our certifications and background filings so that we
make sure that it's women-owned businesses that are getting the
participation, and we're going to out and train contract
officers in all of the different agencies on this new rule and
how to engage in making sure that we reach our 5% goal
in the 83 industries.
So that --
(applause)
While those of you who are in this room,
some of you know how much it means to be able to grow your
business and create jobs and how much opportunity there is for
the public sector to make sure it gets a win-win situation,
gets the best small businesses in there to do the work so that
taxpayers get a good bang for their buck.
And it's good for small businesses because that's
the oxygen small businesses need to create jobs.
So that's capital, and the contracting.
We also, as Valerie said, are working on
our counseling operations.
We have 900 small business development centers all around
the country, but we also have an additional 110 women-owned small
business centers, and we're adding four more, as she said,
in Arkansas, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Texas.
So that we want to make sure that women get the help they
need to create their business plans.
Sometimes it's not just the capital they need,
it's the counseling and the help that they need to be
able to grow and create jobs.
One more thing.
Many of you know, we have a National Women's Business
Council, and it's a critical partner in this effort.
So I have another announcement, surprise announcement.
You probably all know that the National Women's Business
Council is an important group, it advises the President,
Congress, and the SBA, and their mission is to promote
bold initiatives, policies and programs that support
women's entrepreneurship.
What we're talking about today.
So in August we were very happy that we were able to announce a
great new Executive Director Dana Lewis.
Where is Dana?
Stand up.
(applause)
Now, she came to the Council from the First Lady's Office,
we're very thrilled to have you on board.
But the Council still didn't have a chairperson,
and I've gotten calls from a number of you saying when's
the Council going to have a chairperson.
Well, the answer is right now.
I want to introduce somebody who has decades of experience as an
executive at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
She served as the President of Nationwide's strategic
investments and she guided the subsidiaries there on how to
grow and succeed.
So she really knows how to grow businesses.
She also led the new business innovation team,
and they commercialized a number of innovations in the financial
services industries.
She serves on the board of a number of Fortune 500 companies,
including Coca-Cola, Limited Brands, and Time Warner Cable,
and a few years ago she became an entrepreneur herself,
and she started her company Lardon & Associates as the
President and CEO, and they help other business leaders realize
the full potential of both themselves and their businesses.
She's very active in the Central Ohio community,
and she's the founder and chair of Center for Healthy Families
and that helps pregnant and parenting teens.
She's won numerous awards, honors.
She's been inducted into the National Historically Black
Colleges and Universities Hall of Fame in 2007,
and I'm very pleased to have somebody who's got
this powerful combination of executive leadership and
a fresh experience of becoming an entrepreneur,
starting her own business.
I know that she is going to lead this Council to new heights,
greater heights than ever before.
With Dana's help, please help me recognize the new chair of our
NWBC, National Women's Business Council, Donna James.
(applause)
So, am I good to go with Mika?
Did she really need any introduction?
Who watches Mika in the morning?
I watch Mika in the morning.
Well, I do know that she graduated from Williams College,
since I leave at Bowdoin College we're good, though,
I have a son at Williams.
She began her career -- and many of you know this,
in the news business you have to move various places -- but she
was an assistant on "ABC World News This Morning,"
and then she went and reported for Fox and CBS in Connecticut.
She became an anchor, I didn't know this before,
but "Up to the Minute," which is a late night CBS network news
program, and the website says that it's a broadcast for very
late workers, very early workers, insomniacs,
and parents of insomniac infants.
(laughter)
I'm sure many can relate.
She also went on to report, and I do remember it said Ground
Zero on September 11th, and she was the weekend anchor
of "CBS Evening News."
In 2007 she came to "Morning Joe,"
and she brightened all of our days, I have to say.
Many of us wake up to Mika.
I did do a show of hands earlier, it was quite good.
And I do want to say something personally.
I think all of us here, and Valerie referred to it,
really appreciate the sense of respect and
integrity on that set.
And I think it's really largely due to Mika's
presence and character.
We know that she gives Joe Scarborough a lot of grief every
morning, and that she has the ability to have insight
and impact on some of the most important issues,
and she does it with a presence and a grace,
and creates an environment of respect that I think we've all
come to admire and enjoy.
So we're very, very honored this morning to have Mika Brzezinski
here to lead the next panel.
(applause)
Ms. Brzezinski: I think I'll start here.
Good afternoon, everyone, how are you?
And let me just get the lay of the land.
That's the mic we're passing -- oh, good, there are two.
Okay. We'll share. Gosh.
First of all, barely graduated from Williams.
Barely.
(laughter)
And describing my life on overnights at "CBS News Up
to the Minute" sounds strangely like today.
My schedule hasn't gotten a lot better, I don't know why.
I just want to briefly thank Valerie and Tina for the honor
of being your moderator today, especially on the findings of
this very important report.
What it reveals is the hard work that needs to be done
to help women get their value in the marketplace.
We have a long way to go on a number of levels.
How to fill in the missing middle in an effective and
permanent way.
This panel is on the front lines of that effort,
and we're going to try and take the conversation
to the next level.
I applaud the commitment that Valerie and Tina and so many
in the White House and this Administration,
all the way up to the President, have made to bringing pay equity
to women in all corners of the marketplace.
I'm actually in the final stages of a book entitled "Knowing your
Value," which is due out in the spring,
and it looks at the psychology behind why women underachieve
financially in the workplace.
I mentioned the concept actually to Valerie a year ago,
we were just having a casual conversation about work-life
balance and how busy we are and how much we try and fit
everything in, and I was actually telling her that I
didn't think I had the time to carry through on the project,
but then I found myself talking more and more and more about the
topic, and her instinctive gut reaction was to do this book.
And that was good enough for me.
That was inspiration.
So how kind of her to inspire me on that.
And how kind of Valerie to ask me to moderate this panel on,
of all days, the day of my book deadline.
(laughter)
It ends up we were both right.
The book topic is important, and I'm still too busy to write it.
Which is good.
I have missed the first deadline of my life,
and I have been late for the first time in my life.
My Executive Producer Chris Licht is here somewhere,
maybe out the door, he will tell you, I am never late, ever.
I am today.
But guess what.
We are women, right?
So we'll get it done. Right?
Isn't that the bottom line?
(applause)
So let me introduce our panel and then -- I'm not sure I'm
going to sit, we'll see, I may walk around and pace and think.
First we have Dr. Rebecca Blank, she's the Commerce
Undersecretary, she's going to give us the bottom line
on this report.
Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the SBA.
Theresa Daytner, of the Daytner Corporation,
and Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
Thank you all very much for being here.
First, Becky, if you could give us the bottom line
with the report.
What does this report tell us?
Ms. Blank: Thank you, Mika.
And I'd also like to thank Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen
and everyone at the Council on Women and Girls who helped put
the event together.
So today we are releasing this report which you should all
have, you should have picked it up as you came into the room.
I've got a number of staff people sitting at the back of
the room, women, who did all of the data work and all of the
writing behind this, you know, I just release these things,
your staff do all the work.
And I want to thank them as well because they worked
under a pretty tight deadline to get this done.
(applause)
So as Valerie noted, this report has data from the
1990s through 2007.
And 2007 is not the most recent year we're all living in,
but it is the most recent year in which the Census Bureau
collected information on small and large businesses and gave
us this sort of information.
So this report is really about long-term trends,
and I know others on this panel, Marie, are going to talk
about sort of what's happened since then and what this
Administration is doing.
Three major things in this report that I want to draw
your attention to.
First, the good news.
Women-owned businesses are expanding.
They are more than a trillion dollars of the economy,
they've been growing more rapidly than male-owned
businesses, and their employment has been growing more rapidly.
All of that, of course, is something to applaud and
to be very proud of.
There are also, however, challenges that we are facing in
addition to good news, and the challenges basically are about
the fact that in almost every measure,
women-owned businesses still lag behind men-owned businesses.
Women, while women are half of the labor force,
they're only 30% of business owners,
and even though they're 30% of privately-held businesses,
they account for only 11% of sales and 13% of employment.
They are disproportionately smaller than male-owned businesses.
And that leads to the third point,
which is about the last half of the report,
trying to say how do you explain that?
And there are only some partial answers to this.
It's a complex question with a set of complex answers.
One of the answers people have already talked about.
Karen talked about the problem of capital,
and women apply for capital at a lower rate,
they are turned down at a higher rate,
they grow less rapidly in part because they seek
fewer outside loans so they expand more slowly,
and there are a whole variety of questions around the capital
market and access to loans that I'm sure we'll come back and
talk about here on the panel.
One of the second big issues is industry location.
You know, women don't own their firms in the same
location as men do.
Women are disproportionately in some of the areas of health and
education and social welfare, and men are more likely --
Theresa is an exception to this -- to be in construction
and in manufacturing.
And even the men in the sectors of the economy that women are
disproportionately located in have smaller businesses.
They're simply a different sector of the economy and
they behave differently.
And that needs to be taken into account as well.
Then the report ends by looking at the characteristics of
self-employed women versus self-employed men,
and one of the interesting things there is that
self-employed women look just like self-employed men in terms
of age, marital status, kids, so there's really nothing here in
terms of the characteristics that would make you believe
that, you know, this is a different group.
Interestingly enough, the wages that women take out of their
businesses are a lot less than the wages that men take out of
their businesses.
The female to male earnings for the self-employed,
that ratio is 55%, which is well below what it is
for wage earners.
Even if you account for the fact that women work fewer hours in
their business, no surprise, they work more at home with
kids and with family.
Even if you do make that accounting,
the earnings ratio rises only to 63% among the self-employed,
while it's 77% among wage earners.
So that's one of the big gaps to worry about.
In any case, there's been real growth of women-owned
businesses, clearly there's enormous growth potential out
there, and the question is how do we release those forces?
How do we encourage more women to be entrepreneurs,
and to take some of the risks and, you know, some of the
advantages of being self-employed and
running your own shop.
This report only talks about, say, data through 2007,
it doesn't go further than that, but clearly as we think into the
future we need to be thinking about things like capital
access, networks, getting women to know people who
run their own business.
One of the main predictors of whether you're self-employed
is whether your dad or mom was self-employed,
whether you know someone who's self-employed.
Mentoring really matters here.
This audience is filled with women who have taken that step,
who have become self-employed, who started their own business,
and it's gatherings like this that are going to generate the
energy to take advantage of those growth opportunities
that are out there.
Ms. Brzezinski: So would you consider Theresa and Bobbi exceptions versus the
norm, given these numbers?
Dr. Blank: So Theresa is an exception in terms of the industry.
Ms. Brzezinski: The industry.
Dr. Blank: But she's not an exception if you look at people who
are self-employed, they often start multiple businesses.
In that sense she looks a lot like many, many,
I suspect other women out here.
Once you start one you keep going.
And Bobbi's the same.
Ms. Brzezinski: All right, so we're going to get to their stories,
and Theresa and Bobbi, feel free, we're going to start the
conversation now, to jump in when something relates to you,
don't wait for me.
But let's ask Marie and Becky if this applies to you as well.
Let's look at; because you put out the numbers there,
the report gives us a pretty good picture right up to before
this Administration began.
We want to talk about the work that needs to be done,
but first I think we've got to look at the why.
And maybe part of it is in our nature and maybe part of it is
a system that works against us.
And then the role of government in solutions.
So, Marie, first of all, any idea why women are turned down
more for loans?
Why they make less?
Why they ask for less?
Why is there this inequity within something that I
think actually would be where we could thrive?
Ms. Johns: Well, I think those are questions that are probably
better suited for the economist on the panel,
the macro questions of why women behave differently in
the marketplace, but I'd like to talk about a few things related
to the SBA to pick up on the thread that Valerie started
and that Karen continued in their remarks.
Karen mentioned the three C's for the SBA: Capital,
contracting, and counseling.
And one reason why we at the agency are so excited about the
Small Business Jobs Act is that it gives the agency another --
over half a billion dollars to continue -- this is on
the access to capital issue, continue programs that we know
worked under the Recovery Act.
Where we were able to leverage $680 million to $30 billion of
borrowing power for businesses.
Now, of that amount, about 18% went to women-owned businesses,
and so yes, we want to get that number up.
So that gets me to another of the C's, and that's counseling.
Karen mentioned the women's business centers.
We are opening, adding to the 110 women's business centers
that we have around the country because we have data that show
if women come in to get the counseling,
if they are able to connect to networking opportunities with
other women business owners, that it makes a difference in
terms of how they're able to grow their business.
It's interesting, we, some of us in the room were at a gathering
just last week, where the National Women's Business
Council hosted a discussion on access to capital,
and Dr. Greene was there and presented some very interesting
information, and I remember one of my colleagues from the SBA
asked a question about behaviors of women and sensitivity to
risk, and women do tend to be more risk averse.
And so that is part of the issue behind women's willingness to
take on a loan, to take on debt in order to grow their business.
And so how that in my mind connects back to the counseling,
the importance of counseling, is that if women come in and are
able to take advantage of the services that SBA offers in that
regard, that can help them understand how to manage risk,
how to balance risk, and how to move forward in a way that makes
sense for their business.
Ms. Brzezinski: Okay, I want to know Theresa smiled when
we mentioned risk, but Bobbi wants to jump in.
We'll get to that, that's a tease.
That's called a tease in the business.
Bobbi, go.
(laughter)
Ms. Brown: But I think one of the best things that we could do,
all of us in a room, you know, especially all of the women,
is to, you know, empower our friends and our sisters,
and it's also telling a story.
I mean, I learned a lot by being around powerful women,
by hearing what they, what they did, how they had families,
how they were able to work and how they grew their business.
And I think just somehow telling women's stories,
there's nothing better.
You know, I'm a visual learner, and there's nothing better than
whether it's, you know, through a television show that tells the
different stories, that you learn that anyone can do it,
and it's also about education.
One of the things that I do personally is I'm on the board
of Dress for Success, and we empower the women who come
to us not just with, you know, makeup or a suit,
but with the skills they need to go out and get a
job and keep a job.
It's also a high school that I'm involved with that we teach the
kids entrepreneurship, and I've hired firsthand a bunch of the
young kids that now have like slowly kind of gone up the
ladder in my company and now have either their own
businesses, makeup businesses, and we are,
Bobbi Brown also really believes in educating.
So we educate a lot of women and men, too,
how to be makeup artists.
So it's not just, not everyone is able to,
you know, to go out and start the business from scratch,
but if you are able to, you know,
to really teach people how to, how to do whatever they need
to do, whether it's a hairdresser or makeup
artist or, you know, builder.
So I really love to, you know, my dream is to have a school
that we can have people come to and learn the skill.
Ms. Brzezinski: Those are great ideas, and we certainly need to get more women
filling out, obviously, the missing middle.
I want to talk about, without this becoming a whining session,
impediments to growth, and I want to ask Becky
and Marie about that.
But first, Theresa, you're in an industry run -- that
is still a man's industry.
You are unusual in that respect.
Why did you smile so widely when we were talking about
the issue of risk?
Obviously the studies show that women take less risks than men,
and it's very good that we have some women now
running our economy.
I think that's going to be helpful in the future.
(laughter)
We'll be talking to some of those tomorrow
at the Fortune event.
They're amazing women, and that sentiment and what we bring to
the table is certainly valuable in the national marketplace,
and we have to get there, but the question is how
and the issue is risk.
For you, Theresa.
Ms. Daytner: I would agree with the comment that most of the
women I encounter are extremely risk averse,
and more risk averse than their male counterparts.
But I also believe that good entrepreneurs,
really good entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers.
So -- and speaking to the other thing we were talking about with
regard to money and women not valuing themselves from
a financial perspective, I think it's a language that
women are still learning.
The language of financial literacy.
And once you learn that language, you're
much more comfortable with that when you're more fluent.
So when I grew up wanting to be a carpenter and an entrepreneur,
I decided that I should learn the money first and the wood second.
And that's created a whole different platform to have
a conversation around money, and ironically,
when I first convinced my husband to quit his job and
be my first employee --
(laughter)
Ms. Brzezinski: Oh, my God, I love her.
(laughter and applause)
Ms. Daytner: This is important to hear.
I'll never forget the first time I let him price himself.
And it was about half of where it needed to be.
So the conversation I had with him was about
the language of money.
And he's an engineer, so I made it black and white
from a financial perspective.
I said look, buddy, this is what I need to charge you for --
this is what I need to charge you out at.
Think about a branding perspective.
Hey, if I'm charging you at half the price,
someone's going to think you can't do anything.
So from a branding perspective I had to put him up here,
but the other part of that -- and I didn't realize he
didn't -- he didn't speak that particular language because he
hadn't considered overhead, profit, and the fact that,
all right, you might be at your dining room table today,
but next year when you go out and you've hired an assistant
and you're in an office and your overhead has doubled,
you can't go back to the same client and say, hey, listen,
I have a telephone bill now and some other expenses,
I'm going to double my rate.
So it just, I think that even when you put gender aside,
we have to get much more comfortable,
and especially women, with the language of money and surround
yourself with people who know it better than you.
It's kind of like immersion in terms of wanting to
learn a new language.
Ms. Brzezinski: I love this.
Very good advice for your husband.
The question is --
(laughter)
The question is, are you as comfortable
doing that for yourself?
Just yes-no question.
Ms. Daytner: Yes.
Ms. Brzezinski: I love her.
I'll have what she's having.
(laughter)
Because how many of you feel comfortable negotiating for
yourself, saying, you know what, I'm worth this.
I'll have what all of you are having.
Okay. I'm not so comfortable.
Haven't been.
And I've actually interviewed some of the women that I'll be
writing about who are far more successful than I am,
and it is a common narrative.
Where it's one thing where you can advocate for your child or
your husband or someone else or someone that you think is worth
it, but when you're actually trying to get the money for
yourself, we cut ourselves short.
We hem and haw.
We apologize.
There are excuses.
And I just wonder if that's one of the narratives,
Becky and Marie, that you are looking at.
What are some of the main impediments that women put in
front of their own development and growth when they're trying
to build something in the business world?
Dr. Blank: So one of the big issues, and this goes back to the
capital area, is that women are much less
likely to seek outside capital.
They use their own capital, their own credit cards,
they use government loans, but they are less likely than men
to go into banks and to ask for loans,
both when they start up their business as well
as when they expand.
And the result is they start with less capital,
and they expand with less capital,
and their growth is less.
And how much of that is anticipation that the banks are
going to, you know, you started telling in your narrative saying
the bank's going to turn me down so I'm not even going to go;
how much of it is presentation, and how much of it is a real
history of banking discrimination against women,
which, of course, is out there.
Ms. Brzezinski: So when you have -- go ahead, do you want to add to that,
Marie, or follow up?
Ms. Johns: Yes. I think that there's another opportunity to talk
about the benefits from the SBA's women's business centers
in that we have, as Karen mentioned, a network of 900
small business development centers around the country,
but those 110 women's business centers -- and that platform
is growing -- I've heard some fascinating stories,
just in the time that I've been at the agency,
about how women coming together in a group of women,
feeling more supported, being able to learn from each other,
to be empowered by each other is really a significant benefit
of those opportunities.
I just want to share one vignette.
I was at the Women's Business Center in Indianapolis, Indiana,
not long ago, and there was a young woman there who is a sole
proprietor, she makes jewelry, and because of her counseling
at the Women's Business Center, and learning about opportunities
that were available to her connected to the major push
that the President has on exporting and wanting more
small businesses involved in the exporting space,
she's a single-person shop and she's about to have her jewelry
available in two overseas markets, Paris and London.
So if you're in the fashion business, I mean,
there aren't two better places to be.
And so that's, to me, an example of the notion of the
empowerment, connecting women to resources that they need,
and igniting the spark.
It's there, I agree with you that most,
that you have to be somewhat of a risk taker to even be
bold enough to say I'm going to start a new business.
But with more, more resources, more connecting to other
like-minded people, that's really when we start to
get more traction.
Ms. Brzezinski: And can the government help increase the number
of start-ups for women?
Can, I mean, the look at the numbers is amazing.
We see the void, we see what needs to be done,
but can the government get involved to the point where
it inspires that kind of growth along the lines of male-female?
Ms. Johns: Well, that's what we're working hard to do at the
Small Business Administration, and for example, when I started
my career many, many years ago, there were about three --
women business owners comprised about 3% of businesses.
That number's up to nearly 30%.
So that's a significant growth, and when,
what we're focused on at the SBA is to make sure that we're
providing the tools that women need to help
them grow even more.
Ms. Brzezinski: So Theresa and Bobbi, though you may be kind of a bulldozer,
I mean, seriously, I think it's great, you have, you have pushed
through and your attitude has been not along the norms
that the data puts out there for our attitudes toward ourselves
and making money, but what have been the impediments
along the way?
What have been the areas where you just ran into brick walls?
Ms. Brown: Well, there's been many, but I wanted to say just,
you know, as a follow-up to what she was saying,
I think when you have a mentor and you have someone that you
can learn from, that's so important and, you know,
just like they do in other situations and in schools,
why can't there be some kind of mentor program where people that
even don't know people -- I'm very lucky that I have a lot of
people in my, in my, you know, in my sight.
Why can't somehow you connect some people to be able to mentor
other small business owners in a bigger way?
Ms. Johns: Well, stay tuned, we're working on that very
initiative at the SBA under our Start-up America umbrella,
and you're absolutely right.
Mentorship really does matter, and so we have some, I think,
exciting things that we'll be rolling out
soon in that very regard.
Ms. Daytner: And just to piggyback and going back to your
question about what have been impediments, access to capital.
And in particular in construction,
I started my business with a professional services model,
and we did primarily consulting in the
commercial construction space.
When I started moving us along our supply chain into general
contracting, the whole balance sheet had to take on a totally
different look because it needs to be heavy on either equity or
working capital, both of which are cash, okay?
Cash which I didn't have.
So that's really been, and it's almost,
you almost have to fully collateralize.
The insurance companies, the surety bonding companies,
they don't take a lot of risk, so that's something where
you were asking how can the government help.
I think that this new, this new legislation increasing
the lending limits, my first business loan was a $50,000
SBA loan that -- and people thought I was crazy because I
wanted to invest in this big computer server system and
they're looking at us like it's just two of you.
And I said I know, but build the system for ten people.
So when I was able to get that loan, I was able to make that
leap and invest in the tools that were going to help
me grow the business.
And so now, as I've transitioned into general contracting,
and I need more credit available,
this is perfect timing for me because if I have to turn away
work because I don't have a line of credit or financing,
it becomes a downward cycle versus an upward spiral.
So it's going to be very beneficial to me.
Ms. Brzezinski: All right, I want to talk a little bit about the issue of
workplace flexibility, hear about the report and what the
SBA is doing there, but first Bobbi, we know that
you obviously have broken through to the very top of
your ranks in your industry.
What did it take for you?
Was there a sacrifice personally or are you
just magically perfect?
Ms. Brown: Well, I'm so not --
(laughter)
I'm so not magically perfect, so not.
But really what the secret for me is I started really small.
I started with ten lipsticks; I never took out a loan.
We cleaned out our, you know, very small bank account,
you know, 20 years ago.
I had just gotten married, and in the next, you know,
two years I had two children, and now I have three boys.
I started small, Estee Lauder bought my company 15 years ago,
so I'm not -- I'm a very large company now,
but if you ask anyone that works with me,
I think I still own my little independent business, and I,
and I am the CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics,
I do not officially have that title.
I took it myself.
Because that's what I do, but it's, none of it's easy,
but I also think for me probably what has been my biggest
strength is my being naive and not realizing that I
can't do something.
I don't really believe in rules.
Ms. Brzezinski: Okay, so tell me more about that,
because I think women tend to follow -- oh, boy.
Two rebels right here.
Ms. Brown: But you have to be. I mean --
Ms. Brzezinski: And look at them.
Ms. Brown: And my role model, by the way, was growing up and watching my
grandfather, Papa Sam, five foot two, you know, from Russia,
came here with nothing, and by the time, you know,
he was in his 70s he had a very big car dealership in Chicago,
and I watched him.
I watched him how he worked with the people around him,
and again, it's about observing.
I am a learner that sees things and observes,
and just by watching people I think that is really the key.
Ms. Brzezinski: Okay, but where, what is workplace flexibility in your
-- and how that, by looking --
Ms. Brown: You might not want to hear this from me.
Ms. Brzezinski: No, I think I do.
Ms. Brown: You might not.
Because honestly, what's important to me in my life is my
three kids, my husband, taking care of myself, exercising,
and my work for me is pretty much my passion and my hobby.
I put as much time and energy -- I don't do any
of it particularly perfect, by the way.
People at work always wonder where I am and people at home
always wonder where I am.
(laughter)
So it's just the way it goes.
I mean, I do my makeup in the car.
(applause)
I mean, but -- well, it's about being real.
I did my makeup on Amtrak, okay?
Ms. Brzezinski: It looks fabulous.
Ms. Brown: And I didn't have foundation, okay?
I had to borrow my president's concealer.
But it's about normal, it's about being real and being
normal, and for me, I always put my kids'
holidays on my calendar.
I want to be at back to school night.
I've missed one in 20 years.
And so those things are really important to me,
and so for me that's a priority.
But because I have my own business, I mean,
I don't anymore, but I do, so -- because I have my own business
I'm allowed to make those choices.
And sometimes you have big choices.
You can't do everything.
I only have three, she's got six.
Ms. Brzezinski: Six. She has six. Six.
I don't even, the question of how do you do it does not rank.
It just doesn't.
And, I mean, I'm getting, I'm tiring myself.
I don't know if there's an answer that you can apply to
the rest of the world, but try.
Ms. Daytner: Well, I think similar to what Bobbi was saying,
it's like sometimes I feel like people ask how do you
do it and I say, well, sometimes I feel like I am doing it,
and sometimes I feel like I really am not.
Ms. Brzezinski: Right.
Ms. Daytner: And, you know, the roast went in the crock pot this
morning and I left instructions, and got the missed lunch somehow
to school, but I delegate.
I delegate a lot, and I delegate very well,
and I include everybody around me so that they're,
they're excited and they're part of whatever the end result is.
But, you know what, I agree with Bobbi.
I mean, I just, there are lots of times when I miss,
and then you have to do a little bit of game filming.
You know how in the NFL, what do they talk about?
They spend an awful lot of time looking at the film and saying,
what went right?
What did not go well?
So how do we tweak and adjust to get back in the game,
because we want to win.
And so I think that's really what it boils down to,
is we know we're not perfect, we're really not trying to be,
but are we getting the right things first.
So with regard to workplace flexibility, I have to tell you,
my goal is to scale up my business,
and I just keep pulling out and pulling out and pulling out of
daily operations.
And so where I started wearing all the hats and I wasn't as
flexible, now I'm starting to take them off and getting really
good lieutenants in place to manage different things.
Ms. Brzezinski: Great segue to Marie and Becky, because obviously,
when you're starting out you've got to wear all the hats.
I'm not sure how workplace flexibility fits in with
competition and how does the SBA approach this problem?
Ms. Johns: When you're talking to a Bobbi or a Theresa,
both of whom are very successful,
you -- they're in a different place from, say,
a woman who may be in the room who is just
starting her business.
And that's, that's a reality.
And so at the SBA, again, I go back to the counseling that we
provide, and that is to try to recognize that businesses,
entrepreneurs have different lifecycles,
different places on the lifecycle where
their business falls.
And we have to be sensitive to that and make sure that
the services that we're providing are relevant,
given where a woman business owner may be in the process.
And I just want to say at this point,
I meant to say it at the outset, but I really,
I'm so grateful having been part of the team who worked
on pulling this conference together,
I'm just so grateful that you are here,
and particularly for the women who do own businesses.
I know what sacrifice that is, after my career at Verizon I
started a small business myself, and when I wasn't there,
work wasn't done.
And so it's really very meaningful that so many of
you took the time out to be part of this important conversation.
And the second thing is that while I think it's important
that we're setting a framework with this panel,
with Valerie's remarks and Karen's,
for me the most valuable part of the day is going to be what
comes out of our breakout sessions.
Because certainly I want to tell you all the wonderful things
that the SBA, me and my colleagues are involved
with at the agency, but we are constantly in need of feedback.
We're constantly in need of making sure that what we're
doing at headquarters or in our field offices is really
meeting the needs.
And I know that there are ways that we can improve,
and so we're so eager to hear from you on that.
One last point, if I may, one of the initiatives that I'm very
involved with at the agency is looking at how we do a better
job of serving our traditionally underserved communities,
and women business owners are part of that.
Rural, certain rural communities, certain
urban communities, they're just, there's just a tremendous upside
potential for us to bring the resources of the SBA to those
markets, and that is something that we'll be telling you more
about as those plans, as those plans become more mature.
But again, I just want to put in an early plug for
the breakout sessions.
We really need to hear your feedback,
what's working well that we need to continue,
where we got it wrong and need to fix it,
all that's incredibly helpful.
Ms. Brzezinski: Right. So Becky, do you want to add to that?
Go right ahead.
Dr. Blank: I just want to say something very quickly about the work-life
balance issues.
If you ask people why they became entrepreneurs,
why they started their own business,
a significant share of women say it's in part because they're
hoping for better work-life balance,
which I interpret saying they want more control over their
hours, they want to be their own boss.
Almost no men say they start their own business because of
better work-life balance.
Ms. Brzezinski: Right.
Dr. Blank: And you know, the world is not fair with regard to
who still takes the majority of responsibility for child care,
for elder care, for getting the lunch over to school when your
child losses it, and, you know, the result of that is you
think about the policies that matter for women,
there's a whole set of policies we tend not to think about as
workforce immediate policies but which really matter
disproportionately for women small business owners around
things like health care, elder care, child care.
Those policies can matter as much in some ways as some of
the direct capital availability and loan availability policies.
Ms. Brown: I've noticed in the 20 years since I've been in
business, when I first had my first child and I was on the
phone doing interviews, I was embarrassed that I had this
kid that was making noise, and now that he's in college,
I talk to other editors that are calling me up and I hear
their kids in the background, and their dogs,
and they're working from home, and it's totally acceptable.
So it has really changed a lot in 20 years.
Ms. Brzezinski: But it's still not fair, because we do it all.
(laughter and applause)
It just hasn't changed that much,
but I do love hearing a baby cry in the background and, you know,
gosh, my sister-in-law is here, Aurora.
How old is she?
She's one and a half, and I carried through our Bipartisan
Health Challenge, and I'm still sore on one side.
Because babies are everywhere, we bring them to work and we try
-- I mean, Michelle Obama went to one of her first job
interviews with her newborn slung around her neck.
That's groundbreaking.
And that's great.
Having said that, we still sort of end up being the central
focus not just because men are mean and they lay it all on us,
we want that.
We want to have a full life with our children and be the educator
and the mother and the leader of the family,
and the one who maybe is there making the cookies or whatever
to bring that comfort and warmth to our children,
and we also want and need to succeed in the business world.
Ms. Brown: We can, we can, though.
We can do both those things.
Ms. Brzezinski: We can.
Ms. Brown: We can.
Ms. Brzezinski: There are sacrifices.
Ms. Brown: And a lot of the men can't, so we're much luckier.
(laughter)
Ms. Brzezinski: That's true.
That's actually quite true.
(applause)
I had so many lines that I was going to say,
I just decided to hold my fire.
But my question, I guess Becky, let's go back to the study and
some of the why's here, because in the breakout sessions we'll
roll up our sleeves and look at what can be,
but first why is it that women-owned businesses are
growing in size and number but still struggle compared to the
male counterparts?
What is behind sort of the gap there?
What are some of the impediments?
Dr. Blank: So we've talked about capital, we've talked about some of the
challenges of family versus owning one's own business.
A third issue here is the industries that women are in.
I think it's fascinating because between Bobbi and Theresa,
we have a woman who's in one of the more traditionally female
industries, even though there may not be that many female
entrepreneurs in it, versus a woman who's in a more
nontraditional industry.
And if you look at why women's businesses have been growing in
recent years and men's haven't, it actually is largely an
industry story, because it's actually education and health
that's been growing, and manufacturing and
construction that hasn't.
So industry location has really benefited women in, you know,
those relative growth rates in the last few years.
But in terms of the long-terms trends,
it's somewhat disadvantaged women because the industries
that women are disproportionately
in are industries that start with much smaller firms,
that on average have grown less and don't reach the same size,
you know, the really -- there's much bigger firms in
manufacturing on average than there are, for instance,
in education or in some of the other areas.
So this industry choice which, you know, of course, also
reflects itself in terms of education and degrees and
everything else, really matters for where women end up and
where men end up.
Ms. Brzezinski: And what do you mean by industry choice?
I mean, what, can you be more specific?
Is there, are there tracks that women are more successful in?
Dr. Blank: That's the, you know, $60,000 question of why is it that women
make different choices about, you know, where they're going
to major in school, what skills they're going to acquire,
and I think this question of, you know, what do you do first?
You train yourself on the money.
That's the, yeah, that's a great place to start,
and not enough women start there sometimes.
Ms. Daytner: I think what you mentioned is key.
And I have to share this with you,
and I think it's really given me the lens I look through today.
My father was a hairdresser.
He was a cosmetologist, and I can remember,
and he had a couple small shops and a beauty school,
and he worked with all women.
And I remember being six years old and going Saturday morning
in with my father and taking the curlers out of somebody's hair.
The nice lady handed me a quarter and she said,
"Are you going to do this when you grow up?"
And I just remember going -- no.
So it was kind of, you know, talk about industry choice.
Some of this for me was process of elimination.
But as far as being in a nontraditional --
I hear you, girlfriend.
But as far as being in a nontraditional --
my mother was a geologist.
So we went rock picking and spelunking with mom.
Ms. Brzezinski: This explains a lot.
(laughter)
I'm sorry.
Ms. Daytner: I thought you should hear more of the story.
It's really --
Ms. Brzezinski: It helps. It helps.
I feel better, actually.
Ms. Daytner: So I decided what I didn't want to do,
and I really truly looked at industry choice very,
very specifically based on what I thought would make
good business sense.
And then I would put the resources together.
And I didn't have to be the best hammer swinger or, you know,
even if I were in the food business I don't have to be
the best chef.
If I could be the entrepreneur that had the vision that pulled
the resources together, then I could do whatever I wanted.
So I just wanted to address what she was talking about as far as
industry choice, because I watched my father not make
a lot of money in doing hair.
Although I'm trying to support my local economy
single-handedly, but --
Ms. Brzezinski: And doing quite a good job at it.
Ms. Daytner: Thank you.
Ms. Brzezinski: Becky and Marie, was there anything in this
report, as we pull together all this information from different
places and pare it down, that surprised you?
That you didn't expect, given your vast experience?
Ms. Johns: May I make a comment?
Ms. Brzezinski: Yes! Yeah.
You know what, don't mind me.
Ms. Johns: Before we go to the -- okay, thank you.
Ms. Brzezinski: I'm good.
Ms. Johns: Okay, thank you.
But I think the information that Theresa just shared is a segue
to give me a moment to talk about something that I'm really
passionate about.
Ms. Brzezinski: Please.
Ms. Johns: And that's the fact that we've got to do,
we have got to, as I call it, create the
next generation of entrepreneurs.
We've got to do a better job of linking to our young
people and teaching them not waiting until, you know,
you're outsourced at age 35 and decide you want to start a
business, but rather talking about this in middle school,
in high school, so that young people have a pathway to do what
is their passion and turn that into a business.
A quick story, is at another one of our women's business centers,
met a woman, she was on a panel, part of a roundtable,
fascinating, very powerful stories,
many of the women were talking about what a tough year it has
been, how the economy has affected their business,
and so on.
One woman on this panel was an upholsterer.
She learned upholstery from her grandmother.
She started an upholstery shop.
She says, and guess what, I'm having my best year yet.
That kind of makes sense with the economy being as it is.
People are choosing to reupholster as opposed
to toss out and buy new.
But then she went on to say about how her business had grown
to the point where she has been able to hire a young
man to work with her.
Now, this young man happens to have come out of the criminal
justice system, he was back in the community.
He was an upholsterer, she's hired him,
and she was talking about what a fabulous job he's doing and that
she's planning at some point in the future to help him set up
his own shop, to expand by helping him set up.
So the power of that story to me was that,
not to get into a discussion about how do we handle
previously incarcerated persons, but it does say how we can take
young people who have a passion for a skilled trade and to help
them understand that you can take that skill,
you can take that thing that you love doing and
you can create a business.
Ms. Brown: Well, I went to Emerson College and I studied theatrical makeup.
All right, who studies theatrical makeup in college?
But I have a BFA, and now they have an entrepreneurial program
so you can go through all four years of school and you leave
with a degree and you leave with your own business,
which is really amazing.
And I also want to say, being an entrepreneur,
I never cared about money and I never thought about being a
business owner and having a big business,
but I had a dream and a passion.
So I'm the opposite of you, is how I came to be a business.
Ms. Brzezinski: You know, again, we get back to this issue of
money and comfort level.
And I wonder as we move forward if that's something that the SBA
is addressing in terms of training or, I mean,
do we need to help women be comfortable getting out there
and getting the money that they need?
Maybe it's partly on us that we're not getting the loans.
Maybe it's partly on us that the money isn't there.
And I look, I question that, I look in mirror because there
have been times in any career on a very different level but where
I just didn't go for it when it was sitting right there.
And is that, am I just a loser or is that something
we need to address?
(laughter)
Ms. Johns: Well, I think Bobbi is unique in that regard,
in that most of the women we serve at the SBA are looking
at the money.
Ms. Brzezinski: Yeah.
Ms. Johns: We need to make money and to --
Ms. Brzezinski: But why don't they get it?
Why don't they get the loans?
Ms. Brown: If you go in and say I want to start a new business,
people say to me I want to own my own business.
I'm like, that's great.
Okay. Can I have some more information?
I mean, if you go into a bank and say I want,
I need a business loan, I want to start my own business,
you kind of have to give them more information.
You have to tell them why that they want,
why they need to money.
Like why they should give you the money.
Ms. Johns: Absolutely, that's where the business plan comes in.
And that's where they talk about --
Ms. Brown: So we have to teach, we have to teach a business plan.
I mean, I didn't know what a business plan
was when I started.
Ms. Jones: See, you should have come to the SBA.
(laughter)
Ms. Brown: Because you know, I might be stuck there.
Ms. Brzezinski: All right.
So we're about to wrap this up, we just have a few minutes left.
I'd love to just go down the line and hear perspective
personally from each of you as we look at the results of this
report and get ready to sort of get into the weeds on this.
What is the value of a women-owned business,
woman-owned business in the marketplace?
What is it that we bring to the table that makes the results of
this report so important and the fact that we need to grow and be
more like Theresa and Bobbi and have many more out there?
What's the, I mean, we didn't, we didn't have to do this,
in many ways many people need to,
but also our marketplace needs women in it.
What would be Becky and then Marie and then Theresa and then
Bobbi, what is it that we bring to the table that add to the
value of the entire marketplace?
Dr. Blank: So at least one of the reasons why I care about
the growth of women-owned businesses is that, you know,
it really is the issue of wanting to see women take
advantage of the full set of opportunities
that are out there.
That you see, you know, when you see an opportunity like this,
to start and grow and thrive and be your own boss and shape an
organization in the way that many people who are
self-employed are able to do.
The fact that women choose not to do this for a whole set of
reasons suggests there are a set of constraints out there.
And I, you know, having spent a good part of my life working on
issues around why do women in the labor forces not do as well
as men across a range of issues, I see self-employment as one of
those key issues where you want more women to be encouraged,
to see this as an opportunity for them.
So I see it less as what do women bring uniquely as to
what does self-employment bring to women?
Ms. Brzezinski: Exactly. Marie?
Ms. Johns: Our economy is strongest when we're all fully participating
in it, and so having women, having minorities fully be able
to participate in the economy is good for all of us.
Women tend to hire women in nontraditional jobs.
Women bring -- women and men are different.
Women bring different, oftentimes different leadership,
different managerial skills to the marketplace that's reflected
in the products that they and services that they may offer.
Now, I don't want to get, don't want to lapse into stereotypes
and putting people in very clear buckets, but the point is,
many of the women that I have known over the years who have
built a business, whom I admire, they have done it differently
than perhaps a man would have, and I think that we're all,
we all benefit from having that kind of diversity
in a strong economy.
And that's why it's important to encourage even more women,
and particularly more of our young women to take that step
to start their business.
Ms. Brzezinski: Theresa.
Ms. Daytner: I wanted to address, I see Sharon Hadari in the back there,
and she did a great article that was featured in "The Wall Street
Journal," and she and I talked about it,
and one of the concepts she said around this,
why aren't women doing better as entrepreneurs,
and it's kind of this whole, anybody ever see the movie,
Tyler Perry has a movie that's called "I Can do
Battle by Myself."
And the idea of it is really, hey, I can,
I can just keep shooting myself in the foot,
no one has to hold me back, because I'm pretty
good at it myself.
And I think that a lot of times that has to do,
both in communities of color and with women,
where we're somewhat pioneers still, and that's kind of sad,
but we're still pushing up against that frontier.
And the more role models that we have,
and the more that we stretch, I'll tell you what,
I stretch all the time outside of my community where I'm
comfortable, the community of just women business owners.
I like to make sure that I'm a multiplier in that community,
that I'm bringing women with me, that I'm using a social network
to spread the news about opportunities.
That when I have to buy goods and services,
I look to my girlfriends with businesses because we tend to
keep that within our communities and take care of the people
around us, our employees and our families.
So I think that's all good.
How the SBA, I mean, these women's business centers create
a sense of community which is then the foundation where people
have women develop the confidence to say, okay,
they've got my back.
So now I can, I can put, dip a foot in the water.
And next thing you know they're going to dive off of there.
So I think that's tremendous, but I really think we still
have a ways to go as a community and leaders
and being women entrepreneurs, but we're definitely making
strides in the right direction.
Ms. Brzezinski: And Bobbi.
Ms. Brown: I really think that our -- I think that what we need
to do is to really teach women that they are powerful.
Because I think a lot of women just don't know that they can do
it and be it, and I believe in paying forward that, you know,
women that make it, they give back and they teach
and empower other women.
So it's really just a circle.
But I think women, you know, are really powerful.
Ms. Brzezinski: Ladies, thank you very much.
I'm going to check off my list here.
I need to make money, take out a loan,
and I'm going to take -- I'm going to leave here today,
I'm going to go take a huge risk.
I'm doing it.
(laughter)
Thank you very much.
I think we're going to have breakout sessions now.
Sorry if I kept you all waiting, I appreciate your
having all of us.
Thank you.
(applause)
Thank you very much.
Ms. Tchen: That was wonderful.
Could we have another round of applause for Mika and for
this terrific panel.
(applause)
You know, that was straight from the train station right here,
you know, it was fabulous.
It was fabulous.
So we're now going to start our breakouts,
we're going to adjust the schedule just a little bit
to make sure we have enough time to hear from all of you
in the breakout sessions.
So we will end the breakouts at 3:30, reconvene here at 3:40.
And our interns, our wonderful interns, are right here,
they will all have signs, you see they've got signs
for the room numbers.
You've got a room number on your badge to tell you,
and everybody, we're going to go out the door right
over here to my left.
So if you can make your way now to the breakouts,
and we're looking forward to the conversation.
Thank you.