October: National Women’s Small Business Month

Release Date: 
Monday, September 29, 2014
Advisory Date: 
Monday, September 29, 2014
Advisory Number: 
15-1001KY
Contact: 
Michael Ashcraft, michael.ashcraft@sba.gov

By Cassius Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

     The face of entrepreneurship is changing in America. Women-owned small businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and are helping us recover from the Great Recession.

     Yet, there are still profound challenges women small business owners may face – lack of access to capital and resources, lack of knowledge about business basics, and lack of financial education. Women entrepreneurs should not be discouraged or be deterred for these reasons. In the Southeast Region, the U.S. Small Business Administration stands alongside entrepreneurs, including women, to knock down these business obstacles.

     At SBA, we know business success can be achieved with the right tools. We have a reason to celebrate Women’s Small Business Month with our success stories. Take, for example, Beulah Hester with Custom Officials Wear, LLC in eastern Kentucky. She contacted SBA and the Eastern Kentucky University SBDC. “SBA, the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), an SBA micro-lender in eastern Kentucky, the SBDC and other small business service providers all helped me to survive through some very turbulent times,” said Ms. Hester. “Today the company is doing well, but we are never too big to fail. I will continue to access the SBA loan programs and technical assistance in order to succeed.”

     As an advocate and champion for small businesses across the nation, we in the Southeast Region of the SBA recognize that women are under-represented in the federal contracting marketplace despite being essential job creators in communities across the country. We all know that federal contracts provide critical opportunities for owners of small firms to boost their small businesses to the next level and create good-paying jobs. That is why we rolled out the SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSBs) in 2011. This program authorizes contracting officers to set aside federal contracts for eligible women-owned or economically disadvantaged small businesses to ensure that women earn a fair share of the federal marketplace. Support for women is essential, as women-owned small businesses have grown by 20% in five years, and 25% of small businesses are now owned or led by women.

     The SBA offers additional resources such as local Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and SBA Lending Programs. WBCs are an effective resource to encourage and help women small business owners obtain success through mentorship and training. Also, there are numerous SBA loan programs that can cater to your small business needs.

     Overall, your gender, your race, your age, or your neighborhood should never impact your potential as a small business owner. Only your creditworthiness should. Look to the SBA as your small business resource. To jumpstart your potential as a woman-owned small business, check out: http://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-businesses. To find out more about Beulah Hester’s incredible success story, go to www.sba.gov/ky.