The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bipartisan measure, authored by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, D-Fla. that will help veteran and women entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses. Murphy’s amendment, offered to a larger appropriations bill that the House is scheduled to vote on later this week, will enable the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish additional Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) around the country, improving the chances that a center will be established in the Orlando area. The amendment also increases SBA resources available to help veterans get loans, apply for federal contracts, and receive business advice. This is the 23rd Murphy-led measure to pass the House since she took office in January 2017.
“As someone who advised entrepreneurs in the private sector before coming to Congress, I know how difficult it can be to go from startup to success,” said Murphy, a member of the House Small Business Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce. “Central Florida is home to many talented entrepreneurs, but veterans and women still face obstacles to starting and growing their small businesses. While I have serious concerns with the larger bill after the Republican majority inserted several poison pill riders—which I am fighting to get removed—I’m proud to secure this investment for our small businesses and veterans.”
Women’s Business Centers provide business training, counseling, and mentoring geared to women entrepreneurs. They are operated by local non-profit organizations that receive financial support from SBA and community partners. Veterans Outreach initiatives offer a range of services to empower aspiring and existing veteran entrepreneurs.
Murphy’s amendment increases funding for Women’s Business Centers by $600,000, to $19 million. Last year, Murphy offered a similarly successful amendment that increased funding for WBCs by $1 million. Murphy’s amendment this year also increases funding for Veterans Outreach initiatives by $400,000, to $12.7 million. In total, the amendment enhances support for these programs by $1 million without adding to the federal deficit—by using funding that was appropriated for SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs but not allocated to any specific program in the base bill.
This amendment is Murphy’s latest effort to support our nation’s veterans and strengthen our economy. In February, Murphy introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that departing servicemembers are better prepared to attend college, learn a technical trade, or start a small business. The core of that bill was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and approved by the House. In June, Murphy co-led a successful bipartisan measure to increase support for the Wounded Warrior Program, which provides two-year paid fellowships for disabled veterans to work in House offices.