Each March, SBA joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Women’s History Month by commemorating the historic contributions of women to our country and our economy. This is also a great time to point out the Administration’s commitment to helping women compete as equals in the small business world.
Women entrepreneurs have overcome historic inequities in a brief period of time. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has made it clear that women need better access to mentors, advisers and networking. And everybody needs capital. You can’t run a business without it. It was only thirty years ago that the Women’s Business Ownership Act eliminated laws requiring male co-signers on women’s business loans. The Women’s Business Center Program and the National Women’s Business Council were created to encourage women to overcome barriers and achieve success.
This Administration’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs is clear. In his first 100 days, the President signed two executive orders supporting women in business: the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, which encourages entrepreneurial programs that recruit and support women, and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act, which directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to pursue careers in aerospace.
We’re making progress, but we’re not there yet. Female entrepreneurs make up a growing share of U.S. small business owners; they own 9.9 million companies in the US, employ more than 8 million people and provide $264 billion in wages. Yet, despite these numbers and while women make up over 50 percent of the US population, only 29 percent are business owners.
We’re doing our part here at SBA with the funding of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the nation; programs such as federal contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses; initiatives such as the InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge and business loans for female entrepreneurs.
-Submitted by SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian