On August 26, we celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Women’s Equality Day. At the time the observance was designated in 1973, there were around 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Thanks to the hard work of trailblazing women over the last half century, the marketplace has changed dramatically since then. According to the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, women entrepreneurs now own more than 12 million businesses that account for over $2 trillion in revenue.
Through the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, the SBA is committed to ensuring the continued growth of women-owned businesses across the country. There are a variety of resources and programs that women entrepreneurs can leverage to start, grow, expand, or recover their business today.
Training and Counseling
America’s women entrepreneurs represent a wide range of geographic, demographic, and economic diversity. As such, the needs of women-owned businesses vary from business to business. That is why there are more than 130 Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) throughout the U.S. and its territories. WBCs provide no- or low-cost counseling and training for women entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing their small business. Find a location near you.
Ascent is SBA’s free online learning program for women business owners that delivers training and tools in a timely and convenient manner. Hundreds of thousands of women entrepreneurs have already accessed Ascent’s informational videos, discussion guides, and self-assessments to support them through their business journeys. Through its digital modules, known as “Journeys,” Ascent helps women entrepreneurs master relevant topics — from sales and marketing to recovery from disasters.
SBA loan programs are available to help you start or grow your business. The SBA guarantees loans by working with participating lenders, reducing their risk and increasing the likelihood that your loan will be approved. Use SBA’s Lender Match tool to connect with more than 800 participating SBA-approved lenders throughout all 50 states and territories.
Federal Market Opportunities
As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. government has established annual goals for governmentwide contract spend in five categories. One of those categories is women-owned businesses. The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program (WOSB) helps the government reach its goal. WOSB certification qualifies a business for certain federal contracts that have been set aside for specific industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented.
As we celebrate the progress that has been made for women’s equality over the last five decades, we look toward the next 50 years with great pride and enthusiasm. Visit sba.gov/women and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn