It’s Women’s History Month, and what a great time to recognize the contributions that women entrepreneurs make to the U.S. economy and to their communities.
Today, women are starting businesses at a higher rate than ever before and are among the fastest-growing businesses in America. They also generate $1.2 trillion in revenues and employ 7.6 million people (according to the National Women’s Business Council).
But women continue to face barriers to entry: access to capital, discrimination, language barriers, balancing life and work, and so on.
But the one thing all women entrepreneurs have in common is that they don’t have to go it alone – SBA’s Women’s Business Centers are there to help.
SBA’s Women’s Business Centers offer a range of services designed to help women entrepreneurs explore what it takes to start their dream businesses, assess the viability of their idea, put together a plan, and start and expand their small businesses. WBCs can specifically benefit women who are economically or socially disadvantaged and wouldn’t otherwise have access to comprehensive training and counseling offered in many languages.
How SBA’s Women’s Business Centers Can Help
Each SBA WBC operates independently and is tailored to the specific needs of the community. Typical services and programs include:
- One-on-one business counseling
- Business plan assistance
- Training and workshops
- Small business online resources (access to computers, software and broadband internet – an important asset particularly in rural areas)
- Business incubation services, including office space to house their businesses
Paula Rodriguez, owner of Paula Interiors, learned a great deal from the counseling of her local WBC in Illinois. After attending a workshop just to see if her business idea had any legs, Paula received help and support from her WBC:
“They guided me in all steps and laid down a path of how to start. I went to the WBC to be paired with someone who helped me create a great business plan. The counselors gave me a lot of feedback, answered all my questions and pointed me in the right direction. They also helped me analyze my financial options.”
On August 2, 2014, Paula’s dream turned into a reality with opening her own design studio and retail space full of original pieces of art and sculptures along with a mix of vintage, antique and new furniture.
There are more than 100 SBA WBCs across the country. Find yours here.
Business Woman Photo via Shutterstock