If you’re a woman, and you own a small business or are thinking of starting-up a small business, you should contact the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA, and its various resource partners for help. The SBA district offices, together with the thousands of locations of its partners nationwide, help women start and grow successful businesses.
SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership
In 1979, the SBA established the Office of Women’s Business Ownership , OWBO. to foster women entrepreneurs in our economy. OWBO reaches out to women entrepreneurs through a number of programs that are coordinated through every SBA district office. OWBO’s programs provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities, including federal contracts, for both the existing female-owned business as well as startup ventures.
SBA’s Women’s Business Center Program
In 1988, the SBA established the Women’s Business Center Program ,WBC, to “level the playing field” for female entrepreneurs facing barriers in the business world. WBCs represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers across the U.S., which provide business training, counseling and mentoring services.
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program
The SBA has a number of initiatives to help women secure better access to procurement opportunities and achieve the government’s 5% contracting goal for women-owned small businesses. Recently, the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program became effective in April 2011, providing equal access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses, EDWOSB.
Service Core of Retired Executives a.k.a. SCORE
Other resource partners always ready, willing and available to assist are Service Core of Retired Executives, SCORE and Small Business Development Centers, SBDC . SCORE represents a network of volunteer, retired business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs who mentor and assist the small business person, free of charge. Being a part of the local community, most SCORE offices are located within the local Chamber of Commerce or library. The SBDC program has existed for more than 25 years, providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with management and technical assistance, by working one-on-one with business counselors and also through online services.
SBA’s Online Community
SBA offers other valuable information online such as SBA’s Online Community monthly Web Chats, and various webinars held on a continuous basis, in addition to the numerous online training events.
SBA Express Loan Program
One of SBA’s most popular loan programs that have filled the gap of financing for female-owned small businesses is the SBAExpress Loan program. This program offers a streamlined and expedited loan process, with reduced amount of loan application forms. The maximum loan size is $350,000, and can be structured as either a term loan or a revolving line of credit. It carries a 50% guarantee from the SBA, and can be used for most small business needs.
Webster Bank can serve the small business community even better than before, now suited with a team of banking center managers that have successfully completed the Small Business Certification Program. They are well equipped with the skills and knowledge to assess the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Webster is also recognized as an accredited lender with the SBA, qualified as a PLP, CLP, 504, SBAExpress, Patriot Express and Export Express lender.
Have you ever used any of these resources before? Tell us in the comments below.
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