It has been nearly 50 years since U.S. Representative Bella Abzug led the charge to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. In that time, women have made great strides in many arenas, including entrepreneurship. In fiscal year 2021, the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) alone helped nearly 90,000 businesses, assisted over 3,000 startups, and provided 1.4 million capital transactions that have led to financial capital infusion, scale, and growth — a sure sign that women business owners are a fast-growing and impactful entrepreneurial group. At this year’s National Small Business Week, Jill Rae Scarboro of Bright Futures Learning Services in West Virginia was named the SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year.
The list of statistical contributions and achievements goes on and on. And while these milestones are impressive, the pursuit of better representation at the entrepreneurial table pushes forward. According to the most recent data from the SBA’s Annual Business Survey, women-owned businesses only make up about 20% of all employer firms, and women business owners are underrepresented compared to their male counterparts. The SBA is committed to helping create a more balanced and inclusive marketplace where women entrepreneurs can start, grow, and expand upon their dreams of business ownership.
This Women’s Equality Day, learn what SBA’s resources are available to support established and prospective women business owners.
- Women’s Business Centers (WBC): WBCs understand the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face in the business world. That is why the SBA supports over 130 locations throughout the United States and its territories. WBCs help women-owned small businesses better compete in the marketplace by providing a variety of resources, from business training and counseling to federal contracts and access to credit and capital. Find a location near you.
- Ascent: Did you know that the SBA hosts a free educational platform for women entrepreneurs looking to grow or improve their business? Ascent is a user-centered digital tool that allows women business owners to customize their learning experience. Ascent is divided into modules called “Journeys,” which are developed by experts in women’s entrepreneurship. Within each Journey are “Excursions” that help users master the topic.
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program: Each year, the federal government’s goal is to award 5% of all contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses. The WOSB Federal Contracting Program helps the government achieve that figure. Certification in the Program makes a business eligible for federal contracts that have been set aside for specific industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented.
- Financing Assistance: Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to take advantage of the SBA’s loan programs. SBA-guaranteed loans give aspiring women entrepreneurs the support they need to start their businesses. There is even financial help for seasoned business owners looking to grow, expand, or recover. SBA partners offer advice and counseling to lead women entrepreneurs in the right direction.