Andria McClellan meets with Virginia women business leaders
Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan hosted an hour-plus listening session with women small business owners from around the Commonwealth on Tuesday.
“I appreciate these remarkable, boss women taking time away from their busy businesses, families and lives to share their insights with me. While we addressed a number of issues, one point came up repeatedly: the challenges and opportunities created by COVID-19,” said McClellan, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor.
“As we recover and rebuild, it’s imperative that we focus on the success of Virginia small business owners, especially women and people of color, who create good jobs, foster community and grow our economy by addressing the challenges that have always existed as well as those brought on by the pandemic,” McClellan said.
Participants represented broad swaths of the Commonwealth’s geography and economic sectors including tech, health and retail.
Issues discussed include:
- Challenges with certifying and re-certifying as a SWaM business,
- Expanding awareness of state-supported Small Business Development Centers (SBCDs),
- Ensuring women have access to job training and technical education programs,
- Access to mid-range ($20,000-50,000) capital for business expansion, and
- Fostering local and regional small business ecosystems.
The conversation highlighted concerns from small business owners about workforce challenges, including ‘soft skills’ and digital literacy necessary for the 21st century workplace.
Childcare was also a hot topic, for both accessing quality talent and allowing women entrepreneurs the time to invest in starting or growing their businesses.
Participants highlighted that many in-demand, workforce training programs do not effectively market to or recruit women.
“As the state works to train and retrain our workforce with 21st century job skills, we cannot leave women behind. As lieutenant governor, I will work to increase accountability, reach and effectiveness of our workforce training programs. We cannot forget an entire half of the population as we re-skill Virginians for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” McClellan said.