USPTO and the Department of Commerce launch Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) initiative to empower more women founders across America

Press Release

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WASHINGTON—Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Department of Commerce launched Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE), a community-focused, collaborative, and creative initiative to inspire women and tap their potential to meaningfully increase equity, job creation, and economic prosperity. The new initiative kicks off in advance of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19 and comes on the heels of President Biden’s recent proclamation naming November 2022 as National Entrepreneurship Month.  

“Unleashing the potential of women entrepreneurs is good for business, good for families and good for our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The WE initiative will serve as a valuable resource to women on their journey to start a business and strengthen the community of women entrepreneurs that continue to power American prosperity.” 

“Women are still vastly underrepresented in leadership positions in the U.S., and the percentage of women who decide to pursue an entrepreneurial career is lower than that of men,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “With this important initiative, our goal is to increase the number of women-led businesses to bolster jobs, consumer choice, and our economic prosperity. The time is now to put women's entrepreneurship into overdrive, and we are excited to launch this valuable initiative to shift it into gear.”  

While women represent the fastest growing category of entrepreneurs worldwide, they are less likely to be able to secure the capital and the intellectual property protections they need to attract investment and become sustainable. Further, women are severely underrepresented as business owners compared to men. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS), men have an ownership stake in about 80% of U.S. businesses and a majority ownership share in 63% of U.S. businesses. Meanwhile, women hold an ownership stake in about 37% of U.S. businesses, but only had a majority share in 21% of businesses. 

WE will build on efforts across the private sector and government to inspire and support start-ups and aspiring women entrepreneurs, connecting them with each other, with support, and with sources for funding. WE includes a new online hub for aspiring women entrepreneurs to provide key information on how to get started, identifying and protecting their intellectual property, options for securing funding, and building and maintaining a network. With a welcome message from Secretary Raimondo, information on upcoming discussions and events, rotating videos featuring tips from successful women entrepreneurs, and key information and resources, the WE hub aggregates this important information in an easy-to-digest format. WE will include USPTO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium series to be hosted in March 2023. 

The official WE launch event will take place on Wednesday, November 30 from 12–1 p.m. EDT at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. To sign up to attend this event live or virtually please visit the event page on the USPTO website. Future #WEWednesday events will be announced on the website, on social and to our subscriber list. Email to receive WE notifications. 

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Welcome message from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo