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Celebrating National Women’s History Month

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Celebrating National Women’s History Month

By Marianne Markowitz, Former Acting SBA Administrator
Published: March 27, 2014 Updated: March 27, 2014

Editor's Note: This blog first appread at WhiteHouse.Gov on March 27, 2014.

Forty years ago, women owned just 5% of all small businesses in America. Today, they own over 30%, creating 200,000 women-owned small businesses in the past year. Additionally, between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in revenues grew nearly 50% more than all firms of that size, and in 2012 alone, angel investors poured 40% more dollars into high growth women-owned companies than in the previous year.

With so many positive trends, now, more than ever, women are poised to thrive as entrepreneurs.

But gender gaps persist in certain areas. Men still start more companies and receive more capital to scale their operations, leaving many women-owned small business owners facing challenges to turn their great ideas into successful companies.

Two of the major keys to bridging these remaining gaps are providing better access and opportunity to startup and growth funding. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken a number of steps to fully utilize the federal government’s resources in addressing these two critical areas, including all of the following:

  • Expanded our lending, making nearly $16.4 billion available through more than 45,900 SBA loans to women-owned businesses;
  • Set fees for loans under $150,000 to zero, providing greater access to small startup companies;
  • Increased the number of applicants and investment dollars in SBA’s Small Business Investment Company program;
  • Opened the doors to 23 new Women’s Business Centers. The network of Women’s Business Centers guide and counsel even more than the 120,000 aspiring small business owners they currently see each year; and
  • Created the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program so women-owned small businesses can tap into the $100 billion in contracts that go to small firms every year.

Just last month, President Obama announced his federal budget proposal for FY 2015. The proposal provides a roadmap for accelerating economic growth, expanding entrepreneurial opportunity for all Americans, and ensuring fiscal responsibility. His budget invests in infrastructure, research and innovation, and advanced manufacturing, while reducing deficits through health, tax, and immigration reform. All of these priorities are good for women business owners.                                       

As the President said in his State of the Union Address, “When women succeed, America succeeds.” Continuing to increase access and opportunities for our nation’s women-owned small businesses ensures women can reach their full potential so that when we mark Women’s History Month in another forty years, we will be able to see the gender gap as a vestige of history.

Click here for a fuller list of accomplishments by the U.S. Small Business Administration.   

About the Author:

Marianne Markowitz

Former Acting SBA Administrator

Marianne Markowitz is the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.

Comments:

Excellent article. I love to see the empowering of women as well as their entrepreneurship. I wish more individuals or even the media for that matter covered National Women's History Month. Owning 30% of small businesses in America should bring some attention to this matter.
The time has come when the power of every women in business needs to be recognized. Where every support & help needs to be given to enhance their business skill. I truly feel the enthusiasm showed by women to enter the real world of business is appreciable.
As Everyone knows Women are the real architects of society. And their involvement is much necessary for any country development. Just last month, our president announced his federal budget proposal for 2015. This is good news for Americans. And the plans cover in this proposal for women’s involvement in our business society those are very nice. I think this plan will help small business owners in taking much more involvement.
its also critical that the many successful female entrepreneurs are showcased & their stories told to inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs.

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