Here is the formal description the National Women’s Business Council uses to describes the tools they use in their annual report:
“The Council positions its research to be used as a springboard for policy recommendations, implementation and actions. In this section, the Council proposes recommendations that are evidence-based, and developed in response to this year’s research and other engagements. The recommendations are grounded in a data-driven understanding of the needs of women in or in pursuit of business ventures. The implementation of the following recommendations will improve the climate for women entrepreneurs by addressing financial, cultural, knowledge, network, and human capital challenges. Investment to nurture a stronger entrepreneurship ecosystem reaps dividends by supporting value creation by women entrepreneurs, which will in turn drive job creation and economic growth. The Council will serve as an advisor to the SBA, Congress, and the White House on the implementation and action.”
The National Women’s Business Council is a great resource on the latest research on women’s entrepreneurship eco-systems.
Within their toolkits and annual reports they summarize the most recent research available and provide guidelines on how it should be applied. Their official description: “The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.” Their tools are mainly designed for application from the top down, however they can be used as powerful tools from the bottom up. The entrepreneurial eco-system has many factors and players. Networking groups, local economic development agencies, women business owners, the media, we all play a part in the entrepreneurial eco-system.
If you play a part in the eco-system then our job is to understand the latest research available so we can make responsible decisions.
What speakers should you highlight? What tools should you invest in? What pieces of your experience do you share with others?
Everyday decisions can have a BIG impact.
Economic development is a challenging topic that most people (even business owners themselves) don’t really understand. Add in the complexity of GENDER and things can get very interesting.
That is why I find the model describing the entrepreneurial ecosystem used by the WBC very helpful. The circles represent key areas of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The words they inserted describe the “need” within that area specific to women business owners, the bold words outside describe the actions they recommended to fill that need.
The NWBC also uses a more simplistic “4 Pillar” model within their annual report, very helpful. The 4 pillars focus on the key areas that research has shown are the critical obstacles facing female entrepreneurs. These four pillars are in alignment with the actions of the organizations. Therefore, the majority of their use is to communicate updates about the WBC in their annual report. They also issue “recommendations” for implementation of these pillars.
Access to Capital – To identify ways to increase access to greater amounts of capital available to women-owned and women-led firms.
Access to Markets – To increase access of women-owned and women-led businesses into new markets and to increase market share in target markets.
Job Creation and Growth – To increase opportunities for women-owned and women-led businesses in high growth sectors.
Data Collection – To expand the amount of government data available on women-owned and women-led businesses.
These pillars can also serve as a structure to help individuals on a grassroots levels understand the latest research. It helps translate what research is contributing to the massive performance gap between female and male entrepreneurs. Without this research, people often make programmatic decisions based off, “when I started a business” or the feedback they get from the limited participates that currently show up to their events.
Click here to see the PDF: Updated Ecosystem with Obstacles (PhXX Women in the Middle)
There are MILLIONS of dollars spent on economic development programs, associations and events all of which could benefit from the wealth of research on female entrepreneurship that is now emerging thanks to organizations like the NWBC, Kauffman and University programs like Babson‘s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership.
In the NWBC annual report they provide recommendations that serve as the “bridge” to help their target audience understand “what the research means to them”.
Instead of focusing on creating our own “pillars” or developing a complicated model, we are going to focus on the second piece. Helping individuals and organizations committed to the economic development of women business owners understand what the latest research “means to them”. This will be the discussions held at our community collaboration, training and certification programs.
Here is a full link to the full annual report from the NWBC: