Considering the inroads entrepreneurial women have made and the support they've gained since being armed with powerful statistics, you can imagine the panic that arose upon word that the Census Bureau, due to budgeting constraints, would not sponsor the 1997 census of women-owned businesses. Fortunately, the Census Bureau quickly reversed its decision, thanks in part to thousands of letters and e-mails from women business owners and women's organizations, says Amy Millman, executive director of the National Women's Business Council.
"The impact of the '92 census of women-owned businesses has been phenomenal, resulting in billions of dollars of loans for women," Millman says. "Banks don't [change like that] on a whim--it's because they've pored over the data and realized this is a hot market. And we need consistent data for comparison purposes, to see the next level."
In a clear show of power, the feedback from these women may have saved this from becoming what Millman calls "another fall-through-the-cracks situation." She points to the bigger lesson learned: "The federal government makes decisions every day that impact your life. Women business owners have to be vigilant and become educated about the government's priorities. It will ultimately help their businesses."