Press release RO23-03

READOUT: The SBA Uplifts America’s Women Entrepreneurs During the SBA Second Annual Women’s Business Summit

WASHINGTON – In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) held a two-day Women’s Business Summit on March 28-29, 2023, which drew more than 10,000 participants. Attendees heard from President Biden, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, the Senate Small Business Committee Chair Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), the House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, and lead advisors from across the small business community on various topics, including opportunities for women-owned businesses in federal contracting, e-commerce, and innovation and invention.

The week’s activities kicked off with an event with President Joe Biden and Administrator Guzman in the White House on Monday, March 27, 2023. In the event, President Biden announced new resources to support women small business owners and reaffirmed the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to supporting all of America’s small businesses.

“Every time someone moves to start a new business, it’s an act of hope.  It’s an act of hope.  We’re seeing a lot of these across the country.  A lot of hope. And once again, it’s women leading the way,” said President Biden. “In 2021, women started and owned half of all the new businesses in the United States, up from less than a third had women started by them in 2019. Women-owned businesses like yours add $1.8 trillion to America’s GDP every year, and that number grows.”

The President’s remarks were followed by a fireside chat featuring Administrator Guzman; Natalie King, Founder, Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, Payal Kadakia, Entrepreneur, Melissa Butler, Lip Bar, and Sara Blakely, Founder, SPANX.

“From day one, President Biden has been a champion for American entrepreneurs,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “From the smallest of the small, initially left out of COVID relief who reopened and thrived thanks to his American Rescue Plan, to the inventors, manufacturers, supply chain companies and contractors, seeing growth opportunities thanks to his historic investments in American infrastructure and clean energy, and to our main street job creators who are benefiting from legislation that lowers the cost of health care and prescription drugs for their workers. And he sees us. He knows women are leading the way as they continue to grow, innovate, compete, and lift up neighborhoods and communities across the nation.”

The 2023 Women’s Business Summit was held in collaboration with the National Women’s Business Council and co-sponsored by Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, Wells Fargo, and the Association of Women’s Business Centers. It featured four panels, two fireside chats, and six “Ask the Expert” sessions with top SBA officials to help participants leverage resources and funding as they work to recover and build back better than ever. 

DAY 1: The Women’s Business Summit kicked off with remarks by Donald Smith, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership;  Tene Dolphin, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council; Robbie Shapiro, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo and Director of Small Business Diverse Consumer Segments; Corinne Goble, CEO of the Association of Women's Business Centers; and Diedra Henry-Spires, Senior Advisory to the SBA Administrator.

“Today, we acknowledge the 35 years of sustaining and supporting women entrepreneurs through the Women’s Business Center Grant Program,” said Smith. Along the way, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of women create businesses, create jobs, empower their communities and access millions of dollars in capital. This summit allows us the opportunity to share what we’ve learned over the last 35 years, celebrate this Administration’s commitment to women entrepreneurs, but more importantly, bring more information to women entrepreneurs to help them start, grow and sustain their businesses.”

They were followed by welcome remarks by Sen. Cardin and Administrator Guzman.

“I just really want to applaud the Biden Administration and Administrator Guzman. You’re working on all the facets of equity. I particularly like the Women’s Business Centers,” said Sen. Cardin. “Administrator Guzman has been laser-focused on increasing the strength at the SBA, the internal capacity as far as the talent she has at the SBA. And then working with the right policies in order to implement opportunities for women, for underserved communities and for America.”

Following the remarks, Administrator Guzman led a Founders Fireside Chat with women business owners, including Jeni Britton, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream; Cleo Barger, Mid-States Mariela Pindea; and Natalia Pretel, Tierra Encantada.

Nicola Corzine, Executive Director of the NASDAQ Entrepreneurship Center, moderated a panel titled “She Works Smart for the Money: A Best-Fit Approach to Accessing Capital,” featuring Maria Palacio, CEO of Progeny Coffee Carolyn Rodz; Alice Terriekka Cardenas, CEO of Hello Alice; Terriekka Cardenas, CEO of Perceptive Engineering & Construction; and Yuliya Tarasava, Co-Founder and COO of CNote.

Other panels from the first day consisted of panels concerning how to include equity in your small business model, featuring Jaime Gloshay, Co-Founder of Native Women Lead and NWBC Council Member; Gizelle George-Joseph, COO for the Global Investment Research (GIR) Division at Goldman Sachs; Nicole Cober, Founder of the BOW Collective and Principal Managing Partner of Cober Johnson and Romney; and Marla Bilonick, President & CEO of NALCAB. There was also a panel on the impacts of Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), featuring Rasheeda Liberty, Chair of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Council of Presidents; Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College; and Roslyn Clark Artis, President of Benedict College.

The day ended with closing remarks from Administrator Guzman and Rep. Velazquez.

“COVID threatened the decades of incredible progress female entrepreneurs had made in this country,” said Rep. Velazquez. “Throughout the pandemic, women-owned businesses were more likely to close and report a significant decline in the overall health of their companies. But in the face of these unprecedented times, female entrepreneurs persevered to rise above this challenge. Thanks to pandemic relief programs like PPP and COVID EIDL, women-owned small businesses were able to keep staff on payroll and avoid permanent closure. They were also helped along the way by our great SBA resource partners like Women’s Business Centers, SCORE mentors, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers.”

DAY 2: Senior Advisor to the SBA Administrator Henry-Spires delivered opening remarks on the second day of the summit. Her speech was followed by a fireside chat with SBA resource partners moderated by Acting Assistant Administrator Smith and featuring the Association of Women's Business Centers CEO Goble; and Bridget Weston, CEO of the SCORE Association.

This chat was followed by a panel titled “Supporting Native American Women Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” moderated by Jackson Brossy, Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Native American Affairs, featuring Monica Jojola, President of Montech, Inc.; Veronica Maturino, CEO of ONABEN; and Onna LeBeau, Director of the Office of Indian Economic Development in the Department of the Interior.

The rest of the day consisted of “Ask the Expert” sessions featuring SBA officials covering innovation and investment, Veteran small business certification, certification and contracting, the Ascent Platform, exporting and international trade, and accessing loans and microfinance.

The day again ended with closing remarks from Administrator Guzman.


Co-sponsorship Authorization# 23-1-C The SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. 


About the Office of Women’s Business Ownership (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. 

To learn more about SBA’s programs and services for women entrepreneurs, visit To find other Women’s Business Center locations and SBA resources, visit

About the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC)

AWBC ( is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1998 to support and sustain the national network of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). Each year, Women’s Business Centers leverage federal and private funding to operate 145 centers throughout the United States. WBCs have 35 years of success in providing business training, counseling, mentoring, and access to capital to women entrepreneurs. The WBC program is a public-private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 41 on Fortune’s 2022 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.

About the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a non-profit that is building a better path for entrepreneurs worldwide. Established in 2014 with support from the Nasdaq Educational Foundation, the Center serves entrepreneurs from around the world through events, education, and mentorship.

About NWBC

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) was created under Title IV of H.R. 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, as amended. The National Women’s Business Council is a non-presidential federal advisory committee serving as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, the U.S. Congress (to the Committees on Small Business of the Senate and House of Representatives), and to the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (through the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership) on issues of importance to women business owners and entrepreneurs.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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

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