October is National Women’s Small Business Month
The face of entrepreneurship is changing in America. Women-owned small businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and are helping us recover from the Great Recession.
Yet, there are still profound challenges women small business owners face – lack of access to capital and resources, lack of knowledge about business basics, and lack of financial education. Women entrepreneurs should not be discouraged or be deterred for these reasons. The U.S. Small Business Administration South Central Region stands alongside entrepreneurs, including women, to knock down these small business obstacles.
We know business success can be achieved with the right tools. We have a reason to celebrate Women’s Small Business Month with our success stories. For example, Shawn Dollar, president of Sturm Welding, Inc., has achieved great success with SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. Dollar runs a Texas-based metal fabrication and welding business. Her core customer base has evolved from primarily farmers and ranchers to numerous commercial and civil accounts thanks in part to certifications in the SBA’s 8(a) program. In 2013, Sturm Welding showed a 25% increase in revenue over calendar year 2012. From September 2012 through October 2013, Sturm Welding was awarded six 8(a) set-aside contracts with the Army Corps of Engineers. This work ranged from building pedestrian bridges to repair and maintenance of area lake outlets. As a result, Sturm was able to create five new jobs and retain 11 jobs. Shawn is also a graduate of the SBA’s 2012 Emerging Leaders Program and.
As an advocate and champion for small businesses across the nation, we at the SBA recognize that women are under-represented in the federal contracting marketplace despite being essential job creators in communities across the country. We all know federal contracts provide critical opportunities for owners of small firms to boost their small businesses to the next level and create good-paying jobs. That’s why we rolled out the SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSBs) in 2011. This program authorizes contracting officers to set aside federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses or economically disadvantaged small businesses to ensure women earn a fair share of the federal marketplace. Continued support for women is essential as women-owned small businesses have grown by 20 percent in five years and a quarter of small businesses are now owned or led by women.
The SBA offers additional resources such as local Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and SBA Lending Programs. WBCs are an effective resource that encourage and help women small business owners navigate to success through mentorship and training. Additionally, there are various SBA loan programs that can cater to your small business needs.
Overall, your gender, your race, your age, or your neighborhood should never impact you as a potential small business owner. Only your creditworthiness should. Look to the SBA as your small business resource and partner. Check out: http://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-businesses to jumpstart your potential woman-owned small business.