Ohio encouraging women entrepreneurs

Strengthening Ohio’s economy is our chief goal in the General Assembly. A strong, healthy economy is the most effective and efficient way to improve the quality of life for the greatest number of Ohioans.

To aid in this process, it is important that opportunities for starting a business and creating jobs be available to everyone.

I was pleased to learn that Ohio is among the top 10 states in the country for businesses that are owned by women, according to “Womenable,” a group that advocates for job growth and entrepreneurship for women.

However, what is troubling is that Ohio ranks near the bottom in the growth of women-owned businesses over the past 18 years. A bill has been introduced in the Ohio House aimed at reversing this trend.

The objective of House Bill 103, sponsored by Reps. Dorothy Pelanda of Marysville and Stephanie Kunze of Hilliard, is to improve the communication between legislators and community and private-sector business leaders. By working together to examine this issue, I believe we can craft policy that will reduce some of the barriers that female business owners face in the marketplace. Statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center indicate that only 26 women serve as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, which is just over 5 percent.

The legislation would designate the second week of March as “Ohio Women’s Week for Policy and Entrepreneurship.” The week is designed to bring government and private-sector leaders together to host a two-day forum every even-numbered year, during which the state will hold a competition for entrepreneurs who have either recently established a new enterprise or who are in the process of developing a business plan.

It has been a privilege to work with the sponsors of this bill, as well as Ingrid Vanderveldt, the founder and CEO of “Empowering a Billion Women by 2020” (EBW2020). She has been instrumental in the process of moving this bill forward and for advancing these ideas across the country.

Ohio being among the very first states to engage in this undertaking, Vanderveldt thinks our state can be a leader in helping women all across the United States find success and opportunity in leading businesses both big and small.

Speaker of the House and State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger represents Ohio’s 91st District, which includes Clinton County.