Trump Administration Women in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiatives

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Blog Post
Title Congress Turns Its Attention to Entrepreneurship and Innovation -- But Does It Take Effective Action?
Author Anne Dayton
Content status Published
Publication date
©, 2016

Link to Google Doc

Legislation Passed by 115th Congress{%22source%22:%22legislation%22,%22congress%22:[%22115%22],%22bill-status%22:%22law%22}

H.R.321 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) INSPIRE Women Act

Sponsors Barbara Comstock (R-VA); Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)

News coverage:

Transcript of floor discussion from Congressional Record:

Text from

Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act

(Sec. 3) This bill directs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation's space science and exploration efforts through support of the following initiatives:


Aspire to Inspire; and

Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research.

(Sec. 4) NASA shall submit to Congress a specified plan on how NASA can best facilitate and support both current and retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators, including early career female astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators, to engage with K-12 female STEM students and inspire the next generation of women to consider participating in STEM fields and to pursue careers in aerospace.

Legislation had previously been introduced by Comstock in 114th Congress. See . It had passed the House, but had not been voted on in the Senate.

NASA Education Office to be cut in Trump's budget proposal:

Information about NASA programs

See Congressional Record for more detail.


Aspire to Inspire Twitter account:

Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research (SISTER) Program is at Goddard Space Flight Center (Maryland) only

H.R.255 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act

Text from

Sponsors: Barbara Comstock (R-VA); Elizabeth Esty (D-CT); Lamar Smith (R-TX); and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] [H.R. 255 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]


One Hundred Fifteenth Congress of the United States of America


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the third day of January, two thousand and seventeen

An Act

To authorize the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs for women.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the "Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds that-- (1) women make up almost 50 percent of the workforce, but less than 25 percent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions; (2) women are less likely to focus on the STEM disciplines in undergraduate and graduate study; (3) only 26 percent of women who do attain degrees in STEM fields work in STEM jobs; (4) there is an increasing demand for individuals with STEM degrees to extend their focus beyond the laboratory so they can be leaders in discovery commercialization; (5) studies have shown that technology and commercialization ventures are successful when women are in top management positions; and (6) the National Science Foundation's mission includes supporting women in STEM disciplines.

SEC. 3. SUPPORTING WOMEN'S ENTREPRENEURIAL PROGRAMS. Section 33 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a) is amended-- (1) by striking "and at the end of paragraph (10); (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (11) and inserting "; and; and (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: (12) encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world..

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.

Legislative History

First introduced in the 113th Congress by Congresswoman Esty with Congresswoman Johnson as a cosponsor. It did not get out of Committee. It passed the House during the 114th Congress.

Video of Congresswoman Esty speaking in support: Video of debate:

Video of Congressman Louie Gohmert explaining why he does not support:

Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a)

See for text of law amended by this act.

National Science Foundation Entrepreneurship Programs


Rice based I-Corps Node press release:

Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR)

Steve Blank on I-Corps program creation:

HBR article on I-Corps:

Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent (TALENT) Act

Codifies the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. See and Enacted January 20. Information on Innovation Fellows program:

Media coverage: On effort to get bill signed before inauguration:

Profile of Sponsor Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Majority Leader McCarthy's Innovation Initiative

Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

Idea proposed by Trudeau Chief of Staff Katie Telford who arranged meeting through Ivanka Trump.

News coverage:

Discussion in Joint Statement from President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Text from

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

It is a priority of both countries to ensure equal opportunities for women in the workforce. We are committed to removing barriers to women’s participation in the business community and supporting women as they advance through it. As part of this effort, we are creating a Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. We expect this initiative to promote the growth of women-owned enterprises and to further contribute to our overall economic growth and competitiveness, as well as the enhanced integration of our economies.