Region IV | Resources

 By Ashley D. Bell
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee

Approximate Word Count: 445

Why are we celebrating Women’s History Month from a small business perspective? The numbers say it all. The American Express 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, which makes its projections based on data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, estimates that there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses. These entities account for 40 percent of all U.S. businesses and generate an estimated $1.8 trillion in revenue, with $386.6 billion in revenue coming from minority women-owned businesses. During Women’s History Month, the SBA salutes female entrepreneurs for pursuing business ownership as part of their own American dream. In my opinion, these numbers are ready for a large uptick, and helps set some goals for our work at the SBA across the Southeast.

The SBA has several resources to help women-owned small businesses grow. The Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support through the SBA’s district offices located in each state across the Southeast. A women’s business representative may be found in each district office and may be reached here.

A large network of Women’s Business Centers is located across the region. These centers provide educational programs, training and mentoring. They help female entrepreneurs become certified as a woman-owned business in order to work with the federal government and diversify their clients. The centers may also assist businesses with marketing, exporting and social media. The Women’s Business Centers located in the Southeast region counseled and trained nearly 20,000 entrepreneurs in fiscal year 2018 alone. You may find a local Women’s Business Center here.

In the SBA’s Region IV, we have initiated Drive 8(a); an initiative designed to help recruit and retain firms for the Agency’s 8(a) Business Development Program. This nine-year program is designed to help economically disadvantaged businesses market their goods and services to the federal government. The government has a goal that at least 5 percent of all federal contracts are to be awarded to woman-owned firms. This is a true opportunity considering the federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. For more information on Drive 8(a) as well as other options for seeking federal contracting opportunities, contact your local SBA district office.

Women’s History Month is a great time to recognize the great achievements of women entrepreneurs. Become a part of the movement and let the SBA help you power your own American dream of entrepreneurial success.  For the latest news, follow us on Twitter @SBASoutheast.

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