The United States

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Women Small Business Owners
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. Through all of its programs, the SBA is committed to helping women become entrepreneurs and small business owners. Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) are one of the fastest growing segments of the small business community—while only about 5% of the privately owned businesses were owned by women in 1970, today the percentage is over 30%.

SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) serves as the strongest advocate for women business owners, both within the SBA and throughout the federal government. SBA/OWBO support women in three main areas:

Access to Capital

  • In the last 18 months, more than 12,000, or 18% of SBA’s Recovery Loans, have gone to women-owned small businesses. That’s $3 billion in the hands of women who are using it to grow their businesses and create jobs.
  • SBA loans are more than three times more likely to go to women-owned small businesses than are conventional loans, according to research by the non-partisan Urban Institute.

Access to Counseling

  • Through a national network of more than 110 SBA-affiliated Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), the SBA helps provide women with business counseling and training, assistance with start-ups and expansions, opportunities in government contracting, and much more.
  • Many WBCs offer training courses in different languages, helping reach underserved markets with a variety of unique and innovative programs. Each Center tailors its services to the needs of its community, offering customized access to the SBA’s broad range of business assistance programs.
  • The network of WBCs trained and/or counseled over 150,000 individuals in FY 2009. Over 69% of WBC clients are in underserved markets and over 45% are minorities.
  • Each of SBA’s 68 district offices has a Women’s Business Ownership Representative to help women access SBA services and start and grow their small businesses.

Access to Government Contracts

  • $1.3 billion, or 5% of Recovery Act contracting dollars, has gone to women-owned small businesses in the last 18 months.
  • SBA recently launched an online training course on how to access the federal market specifically designed for women. To date, nearly 20,000 people have taken the course.

Online Resources

SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Women’s Business Centers

Women’s Resource Page

SBA Resource Partners

SBA Small Business Training Network

SBA Small Business Development Centers

SCORE—Counselors to America’s Small Business

Other SBA & Federal Resources

SBA Resource Library

Winning Federal Contracts: A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs –Free Online Training

WomenBiz.Gov—Women’s Gateway for Federal Contracting

Business.Gov—The Official Business Link to the U.S. Government

Women’s Page

National Women’s Business Council

SBA Assistance for Veterans

SBA Office of Faith-Based Initiatives

U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Department of Labor’s Womens Bureau

Outside Links

Count Me In/Make Mine a Million

Women Impacting Public Policy

Association of Women’s Business Centers

National Association of Women Business Owners

National Association of Female Executives

Center for Women’s Business Research

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