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Small Biz Leader Tells Women Owners To Take Charge

Q. Is it harder for women business owners to get a loan?

A. Access to capital is tight for all small business owners, whether male or female. But at this point, women have to work harder in order to be successful. You don't hear the stories you used to hear as much now â¿¿ like, "I have to bring my husband in to get a loan." But some of it is still here, and some of it frankly has to do with education and preparation by women owners (before they apply for a loan). But as women business owners are becoming more mature business owners they are ramping up their ability to have the right infrastructure in order to successfully get loans.

Q. What industries are seeing the most growth in women-owned small businesses?

A. We have an awful lot of women in information technology and in services like staffing. And we're building our presence in other nontraditional areas that have been difficult for us. We're getting headway in construction. I have members in the missile defense area. But in some manufacturing, like weapons of war, it might be more difficult. We don't have the numbers or the years of experience there.

Q. Where do you go from here?

A. There'll be no lack of legislation challenges. The 5 percent contracting goal is ridiculous. It needs to be higher. I think that the uncertainty that we have right now in this country makes it very difficult to plan. We want to be able to help the political climate change so it's more productive.

We don't have enough women in Congress in positions of power. We have only 98 of the 535 seats. If we're going to really have a role and are going to change things like the climate in Washington, we have to get more women elected to Congress. Women in Congress have always come to our rescue. When we fought so hard in procurement, they came out, one after another and supported our efforts. So we need to have many more women in positions of power.

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