Officials with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday, May 23 announced the selection of five new Women’s Business Centers (WBC) operated by established Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). The announcement highlights the SBA’s continued commitment to leveling the playing field for women small business owners and building a better America through entrepreneurship.
“Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, our nation has seen a historic small business boom with 2021 new business applications 20 percent higher than any year on record,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “And women – especially women of color – continue to lead the way with the highest startup rates. The SBA is committed to creating inclusive entrepreneurial support ecosystems so that any of our new – as well as our established – women entrepreneurs can successfully pursue their American dreams of starting, growing and building resilient businesses. And with SBA’s opening of five new Women’s Business Centers at Minority Serving Institutions across our country, we can help improve outcomes so they can do what they do best – create jobs, power our economy, and build a better America through entrepreneurship.”
Following is the list of new WBCs hosted by MSI:
California State University, Fresno Foundation;
CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation on behalf of California State University, Fullerton;
Miles College Center for Economic and Social Justice;
National Institute of Minority Economic Development, Inc. on behalf of Bennett College;
Rockville Economic Development on behalf of Bowie State University.
“We continue to see gaps in access to equitable resources for the growing community of women entrepreneurs. Under the leadership of Administrator Guzman, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership looks forward to continuing to create initiatives to ensure that SBA resources reach every woman entrepreneur no matter their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or location,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership.
This historic funding announcement builds on strategies outlined in the recently released SBA Equity Action Plan.
The selected MSI WBCs will support technical assistance to women entrepreneurs; assist nascent entrepreneurs in business plan development and accessing capital; provide educational experiences for MSI students interested in entrepreneurship; offer outreach services and activities, including training, workshops, and information dissemination to MSI students; and support the development and dissemination of curricula, training materials, guides, and evidence-based practices that can be used to enhance entrepreneurship education.
In March 2022, OWBO announced the expansion of its national WBC network to all 50 states and Puerto Rico after it launched its 141st WBC in Anchorage, AK. Of note, this is the first WBC to operate in Alaska in over a decade.
Along with SBA’s extensive resource partner network, Women’s Business Centers are part of an Agency-wide effort to offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing, and procurement. Through the Community Navigators Pilot Program alone, 27 of 51 hub organizations will focus primarily on supporting women business owners.
By broadening its access to capital pipelines, the SBA has also directly invested in women entrepreneurs through critical programs such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund ($7.5 billion distributed to women-owned businesses), 7(a) loan program ($5 billion), and 504 program ($712 million) while awarding over $27 billion in government contracts to women-owned firms.
To find other WBC locations and additional SBA resources, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the go-to resource and voice for small businesses. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s (OWBO) mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support. To learn more about SBA’s programs and services for women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/women.