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SBA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act

SBA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act

Matt Varilek, SBA Regional Administrator, Region VIII


As the recently appointed Region VIII Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), I am proud to recognize a milestone close to my heart: this year marks the 25th anniversary of enactment of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988.  This landmark legislation laid the foundation for increased federal support of women-owned businesses, now one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the nation’s economy.  This milestone is also significant for me because my wife happens to be among the 8.1 million women business owners in the United States. 

The SBA offers a wide range of programs and services to help women establish and grow their small businesses.

SBA Loan Programs

SBA offers a variety of loan products that can be used to purchase or improve real estate, purchase machinery and equipment and inventory or assist in acquisition, operation or expansion of an existing business. SBA also backs working capital loans and revolving lines of credit as well as loans to refinance existing debt under certain conditions.  According to the Urban Institute, loans backed by an SBA guarantee three to five times more likely to go to women than non-SBA loans.

In FY12 Utah SBA guaranteed 148 loans to women-owned businesses for $32.3 million, representing 11% of the total loan portfolio; and thus far in FY13 131 loans have been guaranteed for $28 million, representing 15% of the total loan portfolio.

SBA Training and Counseling

The Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center (WBC) provides free, confidential consulting and affordable training programs. The Salt Lake Chamber’s WBC is located at 175 East University Blvd. 400 South, Suite 600 SLC, Utah.  The vision of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Women’s Business Center is to be recognized as a principal in women’s entrepreneurship whose purpose is to accelerate the success of women business owners and women in business.  To schedule an appointment with the WBC Business Consultant, contact Ann Marie Thompson at 801-328-5052.


At the SBA, one of our priorities is making sure that more qualified women-owned small businesses have access to government and commercial supply-chain opportunities. That’s why we put the Women's Contracting Rule into place, which means that for the first time federal agencies have been able to set aside contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses in over 300 industries where women are underrepresented.

Our latest efforts to engage women-owned small businesses in the federal procurement process is the ChallengeHER Campaign, an exciting new initiative that leverages the resources of SBA and our partners at Women in Public Policy and American Express OPEN to promote the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program and bring more women-owned firms into the federal government’s supply chain. 

SBA is committed to helping women entrepreneurs because we know how much potential they have to contribute even more to America’s economic growth. To learn more about how SBA can help your business, call us at 303.844.2607 or visit