The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued 14 grant awards to organizations across the US in a drive to improve delivery, training and support to women-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19.
Each grant awarded equated to up to $200,000. They are part of the Women’s Business Centers (WBC) Resiliency and Recovery Demonstration Grant under the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO).
SBA Awards $2.7M in Grants to Women’s Business Centers
From gender stereotypes to a lack of access to finance, women entrepreneurs face complex challenges when starting, growing and sustaining a business. The challenges that surfaced from the Covid-19 pandemic put additional strain on female-led businesses.
Research shows that around 83% of women entrepreneurs reported that the pandemic had a negative impact on their business, while almost four in ten say their business will or may have to close as a result.
The grant program is designed to address and meet the needs of women business owners who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Through training and support, the project awards will help women entrepreneurs overcome the barriers and be in a better position to maintain business success.
Female Entrepreneurs are Vital for the Nation’s Recovery
Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator for SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, commented on the importance of sustaining women-led businesses to help the nation recover:
“The growth and recovery of women-owned small businesses is essential to our nation’s recovery. During the pandemic, our Women’s Business Centers have played an integral role in meeting the needs of women entrepreneur during an especially challenging time. As resource providers, they too have been impacted by the changing business landscape and have had to pivot to meet community needs.
“With this funding, we will support WBCs that have established innovative programming to increase outreach to aspiring and active women entrepreneurs nationwide. We are proud to support organizations who have deep connections to small, diverse, and rural communities across the country and who understand their unique needs,” Natalie Madeira Cofield continued.
The grants were open to existing SBA-funded WBCs. Around $2.7 million in funding was available. Respondents that successfully secured the grants showed an innovative approach to service delivery. The proposals included detailed plans on projects to improve service delivery, training and support to women-owned businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
The organizations that were awarded with a WBS Resiliency and Recovery Demonstration Grants included:
- CWE Eastern Massachusetts Women’s Business Center in Boston, MA
- Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Women’s Business Center in Chatham, NY
- WISE Women’s Business Center in Syracuse, NY
- Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship Women’s Business Center in Pittsburgh, PA
- weVENTURE Women’s Business Center at Florida Tech Bisk College of Business in Melbourne, FL
- Benedict College Women’s Business Center in Columbia, SC
- WEOC Women’s Business Center in Fort Wayne, IN
- WomenVenture WBC in Minneapolis, MN
- Albuquerque Women’s Business Center in Albuquerque, NM
- Arkansas Women’s Business Center in Little Rock, AR
- Mi Casa Women’s Business Center in Denver, CO
- California Capital Women’s Business Center in Sacramento, CA
- Women’s Economic Ventures Women’s Business Center in Santa Barbara, CA
- Idaho Women’s Business Center-Twin Falls in Twin Falls, ID
Since opening in 1979, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership has been dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support.
More information about the SBA’s programs and services for women entrepreneurs can be found here.