Davids highlights women-owned businesses during tour of Culinary Center

Sharice Davids visits The Culinary Center of Kansas City on Sept. 6, 2022.
Sharice Davids visits The Culinary Center of Kansas City on Sept. 6, 2022.(Office of Rep. Sharice Davids)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 1:50 PM CDT
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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WIBW) - U.S. Representative Sharice Davids highlighted women-owned businesses in Kansas during her tour of The Culinary Center of Kansas City.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-KS) says she toured the Culinary Center of Kansas City - a local woman-owned business and client of the Kansas City Women’s Business Center.

“Investing in women means investing in our entire economy,” said Davids. “Countless business owners I’ve spoken with, including the Culinary Center, sing the praises of our local Women’s Business Center for the training, support, and counseling they provide. It was great to see that today and I will continue supporting their efforts through this bipartisan legislation.”

Rep. Davids said her visit follows the House passage of her bipartisan bill the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act, which would increase access to resources and opportunities for female entrepreneurs in the Sunflower State and the nation.

In 2021, Davids said the Kansas City WBC helped 513 local small business owners with counseling, training and resources.

“I’ve seen women come a very long way in business, although there is definitely some work to do in order to gain full equality,” said Laura Laiben, owner of The Culinary Center of Kansas City and past client of the KC WBC. “When we realize our differences, big strides can be made to support women entrepreneurs on their journeys to success. The Women’s Business Center understands these differences and has crafted programs to provide for this kind of targeted support.”

According to Davids, the WBC was established to help women entrepreneurs succeed and now boasts 150 locations in the nation - including Kansas City - and serves more than 88,000 business owners each year. She said women-owned businesses in general employ about 9.4 million people in the U.S. and contribute about $1.2 trillion to the economy annually.

In Kansas’ Third District, Davids even said more than 3,500 women-owned small businesses were given loans or aid from the federal government in Fiscal Year 2021.

“During the pandemic, all small business owners were forced to make sacrifices in order to keep their business afloat, but women entrepreneurs, in particular, felt the negative effects the hardest,” said Sherry Turner, Executive Director of the Kansas City Women’s Business Center. “Representative Davids has proved many times her dedication to supporting women-owned businesses in Kansas, and her legislation would ensure these entrepreneurs can continue being a driving force in our economy.”

The Congresswoman said her legislation would authorize the WBC program for four years, increase the authorization level from $18 million to $31.5 million and increase the cap on individual center grants for the first time since the program began.

Davids also said the legislation would establish an accreditation program run by the Association of Women’s Business Centers to ensure all locations provide excellent service and counseling.

“Earlier this year, the bipartisan support and leadership in the House of Representatives around H.R. 6441, the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act of 2022, introduced by Representatives Sharice Davids and Claudia Tenney, was a critical component for House passage. We applaud these Congresswomen’s leadership in ensuring that women business owners have the necessary resources will enable them to survive, grow, and thrive,” said Corinne Goble Hodges, CEO of Association Womens’ Business Centers.

The bill was passed by the House earlier in 2022 and awaits a vote in the Senate.