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Empowering Woman Entrepreneurs During Woman's History Month and Throughout The Year

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(Posted on Mar 9, 2014 at 08:01AM by William Cosgrove)


Although Women’s History Month only comes once a year, year round the SBA works to improve our outreach and services for women entrepreneurs, and to identify opportunities to empower women entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. As a part of this effort we continue each year we counsel and train roughly 500,000 women through SBA’s extensive resource partner network, including our Women’s Business Centers.

We are ready to hit the ground running with several key events for Women’s History Month and invite you to join the conversation:


  • Twitter Chat on ‘Office Hours’ - March 12 from 2-3pm ET
  • Twitter Chat on  ‘How to Sell Online’ - March 19 from 2-3pm ET
  • Twitter Chat on ‘STEM and Growing Hi–Tech Firms’- March 24th 2-2:30 ET
We also are committed to continuing to identify opportunities to the challenges they continue to face. As Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, I have met women entrepreneurs around the country and they’ve told me about the challenges they face including access to capital, access to markets, and limited resources to scale their businesses.

To address these challenges, SBA continues to work with the National Women’s Business Council to identify opportunities to empower women entrepreneurs as they access capital, access markets and to take their businesses to scale. Let’s start with access to capital. SBA continues to help provide access to capital opportunities for women. More than 25 years ago, women still needed a male relative to co-sign a loan for commercial credit. We’ve come a long way. Between January 2009 and December 2013, SBA made 57,831 loans worth $17.2 billion to women-owned businesses. In 2013 alone, SBA made $3.8 billion in capital available to women, a 31% increase since 2009. SBA has also improved its policies around underwriting loans worth $350,000 or less, which will allow for more loans to women-owned businesses. 

This is important because among nascent women-owned firms with employees, over 50% started with less than $10,000 in capital. When looking at self-employed women (i.e., those without employees), that percentage soars to 89%. Across all women-owned businesses, this averages out to 84% that start with less than $10,000. However, among women-owned firms that received loans from the government, only 25% started with less than $10,000. And among firms that received government-backed loans, such as SBA’s 7a program, only 10% started with less than $10,000. Women are accessing more capital, but we can still do better.

Although we’ve worked hard, there is more to be done. We look forward to leading the charge to help even more women entrepreneurs by bridging the gaps and creating more business-to-business partnerships that support entrepreneurship for women. Women’s History Month is an important celebration and we are thankful to the many strides women have made. However, we plan to make this a commitment that goes beyond the celebration of one month.

We need women entrepreneurs to thrive with their diversity of product in the government market space, we need them to grow with additional opportunities for access to capital and we need them to scale their businesses to create jobs and fuel the American economy. Please join us this month and throughout the year as we move the needle forward on empowering and growing women entrepreneurs as they strengthen America’s economy.


This blog is by Erin Andrew, Assistant Administrator for SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership

Is Bigger Really Better?

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(Posted on Jan 19, 2014 at 04:44AM by William Cosgrove)
I write this article because I want to discuss the notion that bigger is better and bring up the idea that smaller can be beautiful and more often than not can produce much more effective results. I will be out of the country on a working vacation and wanted to leave you with thoughts on a subject I feel very strongly about.
 
I am also sharing these thoughts in hopes that it might encourage decision makers to remember what most likely made them successful and open their minds again and take a look at the same types of people they once were and may have forgotten.
 
I talk to and meet so many incredibly talented innovative people who have the knowledge, talent and drive to do the best job because they are motivated more by the doing than the bottom line.
 
 I know from my years of experience that one size fits all cookie cutter solutions are not the best answer. I do know that anyone who has had the acumen to make it happen by doing it themselves are the most creative and motivated resource you will find. Along with the creative, customer service from a smaller more nimble company is second to none and the ability to customize solutions to each individual’s needs by being able to take the time necessary to understand and address those needs.
 
People who are self-challenged and who are simply driven to think out of the box to come up with creative solutions are the people who are going to make a difference. These are the people who really care about you because they know what it is like to run a business and not just sell a product or service.
 
For almost 40 years I have subscribed to “small is beautiful” because it is the only way you can retain control- meaning being able to stay true to yourself, be able to focus on being creative and maintain the flexibility to serve your clients in the best ways possible.
 
Is bigger really better? Think about it, share your thoughts or at the least remember what probably got to where you are today.


William Cosgrove
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