By Janita R. Stewart
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
As we move into March, we continue to celebrate women entrepreneurs in honor of Women’s History Month. This year we are celebrating the small business successes as well as the incredible challenges that entrepreneurs have overcome in light of the global pandemic. This year is like no other year in history. The American Express 2019 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, claims that there are nearly 13 million women-owned firms in the United States. The number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019 and firms owned by women of color grew at double that rate (43%). These women entrepreneurs wouldn’t have the success that they’ve achieved without the millions of incredible women who helped pave the way for equity in small business ownership.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has resources available for women to help them succeed and place them on an equal playing field. The newest resource the SBA has introduced is the online Ascent Platform. Ascent offers in-depth resources for small business owners who are beyond the start-up phase and are ready to grow their businesses. Women entrepreneurs may select which “journey” to travel online to meet their needs and result in growth. Ascent provides the tools to grow and expand their resources including recovery opportunities from the pandemic or any natural disaster.
The SBA’ Office of Women’s Business Ownership has developed a large network of 136 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) located across the United States. These centers provide educational programs, training and mentoring. They also help female entrepreneurs become certified as a woman-owned small business and/or an economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business in order to work with the federal government and diversify their client base. The centers may also assist businesses with marketing, exporting and social media. The WBC’s located in the Southeast Region may be found here.
The SBA has many resources for women entrepreneurs. Because of these resources, we witness small business success as well as learn new challenges that women entrepreneurs face. This helps the SBA to continuously create and launch new resources for women-owned small businesses, a growing positive economic force throughout our Southeast region and the nation. To learn of further resources or for any small business assistance, please work with 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.