WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced the availability of $1.5 million for 10 new grant opportunities for established Minority Serving Institutions aspiring to host a Women’s Business Center (WBC) to provide local outcome-oriented business services for women entrepreneurs.
As Black History Month gets underway, the announcement highlights the Agency’s commitment to creating funding opportunities that increase equity for small business owners – a priority under Administrator Guzman. Through the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s (OWBO), the WBCs will help entrepreneurs pivot, grow and navigate new opportunities created through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, such as competing in the burgeoning industries solving climate change and to grow clean-energy supply chains that will help expand global exporting.
“Our efforts to help establish more Women’s Business Centers at Minority Serving Institutions across America will not only deliver on the Biden-Harris administration’s priority to invest in equity but also will help more women entrepreneurs—one of the most energetic, innovative and fastest-growing segments of our small business economy—drive America’s strong recovery and Build a Better America,” said Administrator Guzman. “Our Women’s Business Centers provide vital support, connecting women entrepreneurs with many of the SBA’s most valuable resources including access to capital, professional networks, skills training for business growth and resilience, and much more. My hope is that leaders of every qualifying institution will seize this opportunity to establish a Women’s Business Center and start building bridges to opportunity for our nation’s women business owners.”
The purpose of the new funding will be for up to 10 private, non-profit organizations to provide entrepreneurial development services to women, with an emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in locations that are outside of the geographical areas of existing WBCs.
Eligible applicants include the following institutions of higher education or their affiliates:
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)(as defined in 20 USC §1061)
Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)(as defined in 20 USC § 1101a)
Tribal Colleges and University (TCUs) (as defined in 20 USC 1059c)
Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (NHSIs)(as defined in 20 USC § 1059d(b))
Alaska Native Serving Institutions (ANSIs)(as defined in 20 USC § 1059d(b)) of higher learning with existing minority entrepreneurship or related programs
"Under the leadership of Administrator Guzman, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership continues to work to advance the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration. Our office looks forward to supporting initiatives to ensure that multicultural women and the academic institutions that support them across the nation, have access to resources and support to advance entrepreneurial opportunities and preparation,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration. “This notable expansion builds on our historic expansion in 2021, where our center footprint grew to include 24 new centers, 60-percent of which were located in rural communities across the nation, including Puerto Rico.”
Since March 2021 alone, twenty-four new centers have opened. Among the newest WBCs are three affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and two in Puerto Rico, as well several focused on reaching entrepreneurs from rural communities. Currently, OWBO funds and supports the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA, with 140 centers in 49 states and Puerto Rico.
The SBA’s WBC network provides one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing, and procurement. To find other WBC locations and additional SBA resources, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.
How to Apply
Eligible applicants must be private, non-profit organizations with 501(c) tax-exempt status from the U.S. Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service and must or be affiliated with a Minority Serving Institution.
The application acceptance period for this grant opportunity is Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, through Monday, March 14, 2022. Proposals responding to this program must be submitted through www.grants.gov by Monday, March 14, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). No other methods of submission will be permitted. Proposals submitted after the stipulated deadline will be rejected without being evaluated.
Interested applicants may direct any questions about the WBC funding opportunity to Donald Smith, SBA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at Donald.Smith@sba.gov. For issues with grants.gov, please visit www.grants.gov/web/grants/support, call the Grants.gov Support Line at 1-800-518-4726, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s (OWBO)
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s (OWBO) mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support. Since it was established in response to an Executive Order in 1979, OWBO has provided training, counseling, technical assistance, access to credit and capital, as well as marketing opportunities to women.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.