Business & Economy

SBA unveils $30 million grant program to bolster women's business centers

The SBA unveils a $30M grant program to strengthen and expand the Women's Business Center network, offering vital resources and support

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a $30 million grant program on June 11, 2024, to help strengthen and expand the Women's Business Center (WBC) network. This initiative signifies the Biden-Harris administration's continued commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, a critical demographic facing distinct challenges in the business world.

Stay tuned to learn more.

Bolstering the WBC network and expanding access and specialized support

The SBA's expanded network of WBCs is meeting new and established women business owners where they are and striving to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, according to Isabel Guzman, Administrator of the SBA, who discussed the Biden-Harris administration's initiatives. The grant program encompasses four key funding opportunities:

Network expansion

Grants will be awarded to establish new WBCs, particularly in underserved communities, both rural and urban. This aims to broaden geographical access to vital business development resources for women entrepreneurs across the nation.

U.S. Virgin Islands WBC

A dedicated grant will support the creation of the first-ever WBC in the U.S. Virgin Islands, addressing the specific needs of women business owners in that territory.

Federal Contracting Focus

Intending to enable women-owned businesses to successfully navigate the federal contracting landscape, this creative grant program provides funding to WBCs. Applications for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) programs will be prepared with assistance, along with procurement advice and support for entrepreneurial development.

Childcare industry support

This grant opportunity targets WBCs dedicated to providing resources and mentorship to childcare businesses owned by women. This segment plays a crucial role in the workforce, and the grant aims to bolster its growth and sustainability.

US Small Business Administration logo: A blue and white shield-shaped logo with the letters "SBA" in the center, representing the government agency supporting small businesses.

SBA Empowering women entrepreneurs through comprehensive support

Eligible organizations awarded grants can receive up to $150,000 to establish and operate a WBC. The funding will empower them to offer a comprehensive suite of services to women entrepreneurs, including:

  • Business Training: Workshops and educational programs covering essential aspects of business ownership, such as financial management, marketing, and legal compliance.
  • Mentorship and Counseling: Connecting women entrepreneurs with experienced mentors and business advisors who can provide personalized guidance and support.
  • Networking Opportunities: Facilitating connections with other women entrepreneurs, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Access to Capital: Guiding women towards resources and programs that can help secure funding for their businesses.

The SBA's announcement comes at a good time. Women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy, yet they face hurdles in areas like access to capital and navigating complex regulations. The WBC network helps bridge these gaps and empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive.

According to the National Women's Business Council (NWBC), the SBA's historic investment will fortify and broaden the WBC network, guaranteeing that more female entrepreneurs nationwide will have access to the tools and assistance they require to launch, develop, and prosper.

The $30 million grant program signifies the SBA's recognition of women entrepreneurs’ unique challenges and opportunities. By bolstering the WBC network and offering specialized programs, the initiative has the potential to significantly impact the growth and success of women-owned businesses across the United States.

The SBA website provides a searchable directory for women interested in finding or connecting with a WBC. Additionally, aspiring women entrepreneurs can explore the SBA's resources specifically designed for women-owned businesses, offering valuable information and tools to support their entrepreneurial journeys.

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