Learn All The Benefits Of The Women’s Business Ownership Act Right Here
In 1988, the Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed and Erin Andrew said it has given women entrepreneurs “recognition and resources, far beyond predictions.”
According to Andrew, assistant administrator for Small Business Association’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership, the Act was signed by president Reagan, and eliminated discriminatory lending practices by banks that favored male business owners.
By celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Act in October with National Women’s Small Business Month, Andrew said it is a time to “reflect on the the accomplishments of women,” and embrace “opportunities for women to grow and expand businesses.”
Already, we’re seeing the power of small business. It was just reported that small businesses added 88,000 jobs in September.
“We know there are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in this country and we have seen a 20 percent increase from 2002 to 2007 and I think that we will see more of an increase as new Census numbers come out,” Andrew said. “There are more opportunities for women to start, grow and expand businesses and the SBA is focused on figuring out how to help them do that.”
Between 1997 and 2013, the number of businesses owned by African-American women skyrocketed 258 percent.
Because assisting women business owners is a high priority for the SBA, Andrew explained that the organization embraced the Women’s Business Center Program and the National Women’s Business Council which was born from the Act. Over the years the SBA has expanded upon these elements and provides counseling and training through women business centers, small business development centers, state district offices, and SCORE, which according to its website, is an organization that mentors small business owners and helps them to not only start a small business, but also grow that business. Locations vary all over the country, but the centers can be found in almost every state, and Andrew said they have “assisted over two million women in the last five years.”
“The expanded opportunities created from the Women’s Business Ownership Act has given women entrepreneurs increased access to what we call the three C’s – counseling and training, capital, and contracts,” Andrew said. “We have networks and development centers, like SCORE that are located at nonprofits. They provide free counseling and training for anyone that walks through their doors with a wonderful array of training resources.”
With business counselors that can help with a wealth of information, more women are able to not only establish a business but can also grow their businesses. Andrew said it not only impacts and empowers the business owner, it also reaches every facet of their communities which “helps drive the economy and create jobs.”
“When you think about the impact on GDP (gross domestic product) that women can have if they start and grow businesses, is incredible – not only for women but for our entire country,” Andrew said. “It is important for women to understand the impact they can have on their communities because it is an opportunity to hire, to grow, and to invest in everyone around them. The more women-owned businesses there are, the more hiring there will be.”
In a blog post written by Andrew, she also highlights that under president Obama, SBA lending has made $16.4 billion available through more than 45,900 SBA loans to women-owned businesses between January 2009 and September 2013. With funding becoming easier to access, Andrew said the “landscape is changing for women for the better every day.”
But along with improvement, Andrew said women must continue to find ways to advance their businesses, and look out for “opportunities to grow.”
“Aside from using available resources such as counseling, business owners should also do a feasibility study, create a business plan, look for resources in their area and go over where there are opportunities in the market, as well as what the competition is in your area,” she said. “You need to be constantly refining your business plan, look at contracting opportunities and look into loan programs that can also help. The more you can be open to new markets, the more you can grow and hire. Its not just about the business owner making money, its also about who they can help along the way.”