Knight bill supports female business owners

Congressman Steve Knight answers questions from constituents during a town hall at the Chimbole Cultural Center in Palmdale on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

To assist women who start and grow small businesses, Rep. Steve Knight introduced the Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2017 on Wednesday.

The bill would make changes to the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program, a federal network of educational centers that provide resources and guidance to women who are entrepreneurs. According to a statement from Knight’s office, the bill will increase program funding and address problems in oversight and the accreditation process.

“There are barriers to entry that put many of our women small business owners at a disadvantage and WBCs have the potential to ensure that there is a level playing field in the entrepreneurial world,”  Knight said in a statement. “This legislation would improve the program so that we can increase opportunities for the female entrepreneurs in our community.”

There are 63 female-owned small businesses in the 25th congressional district, according to the Small Business Administration. Knight wants to see the number of female-owned businesses grow and wants to use the WBC as a tool to help more women become entrepreneurs, the statement said.

Knight serves as the chairman of the House Small Business Committee on Contracting and the Workforce.

President and CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers Antonella Pianalto said in a statement that the association applauds the bill.

“Strengthening the WBC program, which has been on the frontlines of training, counseling and providing a pathway to capital for women, is our top priority,” Pianalto said in the statement. “This bill will help WBCs meet the growing demand for services as a result of the explosion of women entrepreneurs.”

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