On Wednesday, Cathy Koch, a Ferndale business owner and single mother who founded her company amidst significant challenges, is expected to testify before a Senate committee. Her goal is to address the hardships faced by female entrepreneurs, using her experiences as both a successful businesswoman and a struggling single parent.
The Foundation of K-Tec Systems
Koch established her firm, K-Tec Systems, during the 1980s. The company, which now provides temperature sensors, wire harnesses, and measurement control systems for several industries including automotive and aerospace, was born out of Koch’s determination to prove a point. She was once informed by a male superior that women were unsuitable for sales roles. This encounter, though disheartening, fueled Koch’s resolve to succeed in the business world.
The Journey to Success
Koch’s dedication to her business eventually paid off, with K-Tec Systems becoming a notable player in its field. “Eventually, my hard work paid off. K-Tec hit our stride. We were doing business with every major automobile manufacturer and had broken into other industries,” Koch explained in her testimony, emphasizing the value of perseverance and hard work.
A Platform to Highlight Issues
Despite her successes, Koch believes that female entrepreneurs need more support to compete fairly with their male counterparts. In her upcoming Senate Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, she intends to shed light on the current business environment’s shortcomings.
Koch’s testimony, as posted on the committee’s website on Monday, underlines some of the key issues she wishes to highlight. For example, she feels that the Small Business Administration (SBA) could provide more substantial mentorship opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
Moreover, Koch has pointed out flaws in the federal procurement process, which she says makes it virtually impossible for small business owners to sell their products to the federal government. Koch has abandoned trying to sell directly, instead relying on a larger male-owned business to handle the transaction due to their greater resources for navigating the procurement process.
Modernizing the SBA
Additionally, Koch will propose the modernization of the SBA to address other systemic issues, such as limited access to affordable childcare and capital for starting and maintaining small businesses. According to Koch’s testimony, female and minority-owned small businesses face these challenges disproportionately, thus highlighting the need for systemic reforms.
The Broader Implication
Koch’s scheduled Senate testimony provides a valuable platform for sharing the challenges of being a female entrepreneur. Her voice and experiences, representative of the many women working tirelessly in similar circumstances, are poised to provide critical insights to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee.
It’s through testimonials like Koch’s that we understand the obstacles that women entrepreneurs face and can begin to formulate policies that address these issues head-on. More than just a success story, Koch’s journey underscores the importance of equality, fair treatment, and access to resources in the business world.