LG Candidate Meets with Virginia Women Business Leaders
McClellan hears Workforce, Procurement and Access to Capital as Top Concerns
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2021
Norfolk, Virginia – On Tuesday evening, Norfolk Councilwoman and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Andria McClellan hosted an hour-plus listening session with women small business owners from around the Commonwealth.
“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 Andria McClellan. “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”
Participants represented broad swaths of the Commonwealth’s geography and economic sectors including tech, health and retail. Key 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.
Additionally, 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,” added McClellan.
McClellan is the only Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor with significant business leadership experience. Upon graduating from the University of Virginia, she worked in industrial sales and marketing. After completing the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania, she led two start-ups before transitioning her focus to politics and her family. Governor Mark Warner appointed her chair of the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board (2003-2005). She is a board member of the Democratic Business Alliance of South Hampton Roads and 757 Angels, a network of regional business and community leaders, who provide investment capital, strategic advice and mentoring to selected startup and early-stage companies to help them achieve market leadership.
A member of Norfolk Council, McClellan has worked to cut red-tape so local businesses could safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As the only candidate with local government experience, I know that fostering business growth and economic development is easier said than done, but it’s critical to the success of families and the community. As Lieutenant Governor, I will bring my real world experience, both inside and outside government, to support Virginia entrepreneurs and their employees.”