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Ask the Expert: Women's Small Business Open Forum

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Expert: Ana Harvey
Ask the Expert: Women's Small Business Open Forum

Ana Harvey

Assistant Administrator, SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Thursday, March 22, 2012 5:00 PM

As the U.S. Small Business Administration’s assistant administrator for women’s business ownership, Ana Harvey is the director of the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Harvey oversees the agency’s efforts to promote the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and multiple business and networking opportunities.


She manages a nationwide network of women's business centers that provide training and counseling to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in nearly every state and two U.S. territories. Her office also works with representatives in every SBA district office to oversee operations of the women’s business centers and to coordinate services for women entrepreneurs.


Before joining SBA, Harvey grew her company from a single English-to-Spanish translation agency into a full-service multilingual communications firm with 75 employees handling communications and translations in 25 languages. She was previously named president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a post she held until President Obama appointed her to lead the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Harvey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.

In recognition of National Women’s History Month, SBA’s March web chat will feature an open forum on Women’s Business Ownership. Join us for an exchange on starting and growing your business. Come prepared to ask our expert questions about starting a business, tips for growing a business and how to connect to counselors, mentors and other women business owner like you.

Chat Transcript

From:
Gloria Johnson
Location:
Middle River, MD
 

Hello all!! Thank you so much for joning me today. As many of you know, March is Women's History Month and here at SBA want to make sure that you have the access and resources to help you start or grow your business.. Let's get started!! Ana

 
From:
Gloria Johnson
Location:
Middle River, MD
 
Question:
I want to know is there an application I need to complete in order to become certified as small business
Reply:
Hi Gloria, If you want to self- certify as a woman-owned business (that means you are a group or women own and manage at least 51% of the business), please go to www.sba.gov/wosb. You will find details there.
 
From:
kimberly schmitz
Location:
dallas, texas
 
Question:
IM a single mom with two teenage children there father passed away 2007 im wanting to start a florist and dercorate business
Reply:
Hi Kimberly! I'm sure those 2 are keeping you busy! Please go to www.SBA.gov and enter your zip code in the box under SBA direct. You can find the closest WOmen Business Center to you that can help you get started.
 
From:
Bob Harwell
Location:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
 
Question:
Has a repository for WOSB Certifications been set up as stated in the regulatory changes, and if so, how and where do we submit the request.
Reply:
Hello Bob, Yes the repository is up and running. Please go to www.sba.gov/wosb to find all the details.
 
From:
sue allegrezza
Location:
pine, co
 
Question:
do I have to do anything different when I sell from an LLC than from my sole proprietorship ?
Reply:
Hi Sue, No, your marketing strategy should not be affected by your business structure. The difference is how your file your taxes. Please visit the IRS wesite for more information. They are very friendly at the IRS!
 
From:
Linda Bloomer
Location:
Trussville, Alabama
 
Question:
1. I haven't started my business yet but I need information on how a minority woman can open a cafeteria style restaurant with no money to invest & no real good credit. This restaurant would be across from my church and I've already been told by the Bishop that I can use as much land as I need when I get ready to build. Is there any grant money available for such a venture? 2. I've been told in the past that SBA loans require the borrower to put up half the money before a loan is granted; is that true? 3. Once my business plan is completed, would I need to present it to an SBA representative or how does that work? Thank You!!
Reply:
Hello Linda, Thank you for taking part today. Unfortunately, SBA does not provide grants for starting a business. SBA has a variety of loan options that may work for you. The most important part is to have the business plan ready. Please go to www.SBA.gov and enter your zip code in the box under SBA direct. You can find the closest WOmen Business Center to you that can help you get started.
 
From:
Rod Heit
Location:
St Cloud, Minnesota
 
Question:
My company may qualify for three different certifications. The certifications are 8a, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and the Women owned Business (WBE). Questions: How does one get the certification? Can a company be certified in all of the certifications? Which certification is the best? What are the benefits of each certification?
Reply:
Hello Rod, A company can have more than one cerification. To best assess which certification is best for you please go to http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development-0 and www.sba.gov/wosb, to become familiar with each certification.
 
From:
Karen E. Venzen/ KEVKreations
Location:
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
 
Question:
What are some of the most hardest business problems that Woman business owners face today?
Reply:
Hi Karen, Great question! I have traveled around the country and what women tell me is that they still have difficulty getting access to capital to start or grow their business. SBA is reaching out to community lenders who may offer new options to women.
 
From:
Mary Kinser
Location:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
 
Question:
Has there been any discussion about a certification process for women owned business?
Reply:
Hi Mary, Thanks for your question. If you want to self- certify as a woman-owned business (that means you are a group or women own and manage at least 51% of the business), please go to www.sba.gov/wosb. You will find details there.
 
From:
Eunice Carpitella
Location:
Fenwick Island, DE
 
Question:
Thank you for hosting this forum. Having officially registered my consulting business as an LLC in the state of Delaware, I'm wondering if there is an additional designation or way to recognize my business as a
Reply:
Hi Eunice, Another great question! If you want to self- certify as a woman-owned business (that means you are a group or women own and manage at least 51% of the business), please go to www.sba.gov/wosb. You will find details there.
 
From:
Alfreda Richardson
Location:
Somerset, NJ
 
Question:
On registering my business as a LLC.I know the name is available,how soon can I start placing it on stationary,business cards,letterheads/envelopes?
Reply:
Hi Alfreda, It is good business practice to first complete and finalize registeration in your state, before proceeding with printing. Great that the name is available, but that is just the beginning of the process. Please go to http://www.sba.gov/content/5-steps-registering-your-business for more details.
 
From:
Kim Williams
Location:
North Las Vegas, Nevada
 
Question:
Hello what website should I visit for minority women to start a small business?
Reply:
Hello Kim, Great question! Please go to www.SBA.gov and enter your zip code in the box under SBA direct. You can find the closest Women Business Center to you that can help you get started.
 
From:
Gwendolyn Lyons
Location:
Cleveland, Ohio
 
Question:
I am a minority female Private Investigator/ Security /contractor. For the past six (6) years I have been to State and Federal agencies for help to obtain a government contract. Why is it so difficult to obtain a govt. contract, when these agencies are designed to help us?
Reply:
Hello Gwendolyn, I was in business for 3 years before I received my first federal contract. I know that it can be difficult but possible. Please start by visiting http://www.sba.gov/content/online-courses-government-contracting. There is a wealth of information to navigate the federal market. Good Luck!
 
From:
Laura Hannan
Location:
weston, fl
 
Question:
I am looking for a grant to start my business. I am interested in starting my own Financial Services business. I was initially licensed in 1986 as a stock broker and have since expanded to be a Financial Advisor addressing all of my clients financial needs.Who would I contact relative to funding a startup business?
Reply:
Hello Laura, Unfortunately the SBA does not provide grants for starting a business. For assistance with funding please go to http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans. This is a good place to start. You can also go to www.SBA.gov and enter your zip code in the box under SBA direct to local resources.
 
From:
Lily Narvaez
Location:
Islandia, NY
 
Question:
I was running for a year a computer repair store for a year. I closed because the low income we have. im planning to reopen again but i wanna add something wich can generate some income and cover some expenses. I was thinking add a AT&T store so i can get comission for sales, where i can get information about franchise, costs, and if i can put my bussines computer in one side of the store with no problem. Any other idea to expand my bussines?
Reply:
Hi Lilly, Franchising may be a good way to go but before you do, do your homeowrk. You can start by visiting http://www.sba.gov/content/franchising-overview. This gives a good overview of franchising basics. You can also take a free on-line course on franchising here http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-business select number 3.
 
From:
Elena
Location:
,
 
Question:
I am looking for mentorship; where should I begin?
Reply:
Hello Elena, Good question the SBA Women's Business Centers are a great place for finding a mentor or business advisor. To locate the center nearest you go to http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2895/resources/13729. Best to you.
 
From:
Newjersey76
Location:
,
 
Question:
Probably a question you'll get from lots of people - what gov't./private funding is out there to specifically help women get businesses off the ground?
Reply:
If you need a loan under $50K the SBA's microloan could be a good source. Please visit http://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program for details about the microloan program.
 
From:
Julie Thompson
Location:
Brooklyn, New York
 
Question:
I own a small language services company, and basically run the business from my laptop or desktop. I don't really have an office, just an address where my mail is delivered. Am I still eligible for WSOB status?
Reply:
Hi Julie, That's exactly how I started my business. As long as you own 51% of the company you are eligible for WOSB status. Please know that there are other requirement as well. To get started please go to WWW.SBA.gov/WOSB for additional information. Good Luck!
 
From:
Gloria Johnson
Location:
Middle River, MD
 

 

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you found the discussion helpful. Please explore www.sba.gov to locate information, tools and resources to help you start and grow your businesses. Good Luck!

Ana