EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Women make up about half of the workforce in Texas, while the state ranks third in the nation when it comes to women-owned businesses.
The Governor’s Commission for Women is working to advance economic opportunities for women across the state and recently announced a series of new resources. KTSM 9 News spoke with Cindy Conroy, West Texas Commissioner for Women.
“Our focus is twofold: small women-owned businesses and there’s an aspect of us were we focus on human trafficking,” she says.
The Commission specializes in leadership by providing outreach, education, research, and referral services to advance women-owned businesses and more.
A series of webinars were announced that will cover various topics in business as they pertain to women entrepreneurs across the state.
“We’ll have speakers who will talk to you about finance, about starting up a business, about how to be certified as a historically-underutilized business for women-owned businesses,” Conroy says.
Addressing challenges that face many local women business owners in the Borderland is a function of the Commission that also helps alleviate the wage gap.
Latinas earn about 55 cents for every dollar that non-Hispanic men make, and supporting women-owned businesses helps support women in the workforce as a whole.
The National Women’s Law Center reports:
“Lost earnings due to the gender wage gap are exacerbating the effects of COVID-19 for Latinas — and for the families who depend on their income. These lost earnings not only leave Latinas without a financial cushion to weather the current crisis, they also make it harder for them to build wealth, contributing to the racial wealth gap and barriers to Latinx families’ economic prosperity.”
A 2017 analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data found that El Paso ranks fourth in the country of small to midsize metropolitan areas with the most women business owners.
The study reported that 7 in 10 El Paso businesses are woman-owned.
Women-owned businesses in Texas have grown by 146 percent over the last 20 years, outpacing national growth.
According to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, “a financially secure Texas depends on finally successful women.”
The Commission is partnering with The Beacon State Fund for the webinar series led by subject-matter experts who can help turn ideas into enterprises.
“A lot of times women don’t know exactly what to do to start out. You’ve got these great ideas, and so you’re trying to figure out ‘what can I do?’ and ‘how do I get access to capital,” says Conroy.
The West Texas Region webinar will be held on Wednesday, July 28 at 11am.
You can register here.
Additionally, women business leaders from each region of Texas are invited to enter a pitch competition to win a $7,500 award from The Beacon State Fund.
Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the pitch competition:
- The business must be at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women
- The business made $1,000,000 or less in revenue in 2020
- The business employed 15 people or less in 2020
- The business must be registered in Texas
- The business must have been in operation for longer than 12 months
Completed applications for the West Region are due on July 14, 2021. Interested applicants can apply here.
For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.