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An Inclusive Vision Of Entrepreneurship

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An Inclusive Vision Of Entrepreneurship

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: October 9, 2012 Updated: October 12, 2012

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the National Association of Women Business Owner’s (NAWBO) conference in Louisville. It was a chance to talk about the issues and the opportunities that women business owners and entrepreneurs face as they build innovative and successful companies across the United States.

Forty years ago, women owned just 5 percent of all small businesses. Today, women own 30 percent, which equals a total of 7.8 million companies generating $1.2 trillion a year in sales.

These are entrepreneurs like Rachel Carson, whose company Helicopter Tech, Inc., is selling aviation products and equipment to over 23 countries. Rachel is using SBA’s export loan products to expand her business into lucrative markets around the world. Another example is Ms. Jenny’s Pickles in North Carolina. After the market turned, Jenny Fulton partnered with her assistant, Ashlee Furr, to start their pickle business. They worked with an SBA counselor and now their products are sold in grocery stores all over the US. 

That’s what we are focused on across the SBA. Ensuring that more small business owners and entrepreneurs have the access and opportunity they need to turn great business ideas into viable and successful businesses. And we are continuing to look for new ways to support and strengthen women small business owners and entrepreneurs. 

Overall, since the President took office, SBA has supported more than $12.4 billion in lending through more than 35,500 SBA loans to women-owned businesses. In addition, we put into place the Women’s Contracting Rule, which means that for the first time Federal Agencies can set aside contracting opportunities for women-owned small business in over 300 industries where women are underrepresented

And as part of National Women’s Small Business Ownership Month, which is being celebrated throughout October, the SBA will host a series of webinars to help educate and empower women entrepreneurs and small business owners.  These webinars will feature speakers from core SBA programs and information on enhancements to our programs to meet the needs of more women small business owners.

At the SBA, and across the Administration, we believe that entrepreneurs and small business owners are one of our nation’s greatest assets.

And we know that when you embrace an inclusive vision of entrepreneurship, one that draws entrepreneurs of all demographics, backgrounds and locations, not only do the businesses they start succeed, America succeeds.


About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


Surprised to see women only at 30% to be honest, is this still on the rise or has it plateaued out?
The SBA has certainly been extremely helpful in starting up my wife's business. Given that I myself could only be of very little help due to professional time constraints I found it incredible just how much time and professional assistance SBA counselor's made available to her. Certainly very much appreciated by her and me.
Always verify the truth before taking any legal actions. Hope this problem is already fixed.
That was interesting fact those businesses owned by women grow for more 25% after decades. Looking forward to gradually increase in next years, I’m not against on any women for owning and operating businesses. In fact they have traits that I like most and which I think they will bring to success. Also, I’m looking forward for equal opportunities for men and women especially in rural areas.
Such a support is a great idea. Thanks to this solution women can fulfill themselves in leading of enterprise. I’m a woman, having my own business and I know such a financial support, especially in the first steps of activity in business, can help to achieve a success. I do not take myself SBA assistance at the moment, but my friend does. She has quite positive experience with it and she thinks is a very good solution. I believe, developing of SBA in the future will secure solid essentials for US economy and bring new workplaces.
Thank you SBA. My business has been doing well even through the recession. I'm grateful for your needed assistance. My family and i say thank you. My kids have food on the table.
As a woman business owner i can say that SBA has been my savior. Thank you SBA for helping us women get the jump start that we need.
SBA has been great to me as a women starting a business. This is how I learned to write my business plan.
Women should really look into this. Going to the SBA was one of the first steps I took when I wanted to open a business.
While this blog deals mostly with the strides made by the SBA in helping women owned businesses, I think is important to note that the SBA is coming off a record year in 2011 where $19.6 Billion in loans were approved for its flagship 7(a) loan program. The SBA is the great equalizer that allows the little guy accessibility to financing. The true driver of American Capitalism is the ability of entrepreneurs to grow their business from scratch. In this regard, the SBA performs a great service.

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