Note: This blog is by Erin Andrew, Assistant Administrator for SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership
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 | Hashtag #AskSBA
- 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.read more
The Obama Administration has made small businesses a priority since the day the president stepped into office. He has cut taxes for small businesses 18 times and has raised the position of SBA administrator to Cabinet-level. Under President Obama, SBA …read more
SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone, or HUBZone Program, helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to government contracting opportunities. If your business is located in an area where business development and growth has been fairly limited, you may qualify.
Location, location, location
The first step to determining your HUBZone Program eligibility is to locate your place of business on our HUBZone maps. By entering your address, you can quickly find out if your business operations are in a HUBZone. You’ll see a clear message on the results screen telling you whether the location is or is not qualified.
Am I eligible?
Once you determine that your business is located in a HUBZone, there are a few additional eligibility requirements to consider. Generally, businesses must:
- Be a small business by SBA standards
- Be owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative or an Indian tribe
- Have its principal office within a HUBZone, which includes lands considered “Indian Country” and military facilities closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act – Note: HUBZone regulations define “principal office” as the location where the greatest number of the concern’s employees at any one location perform their work. For businesses whose primary industry is service or construction, the determination of principal office excludes the firm’s employees who perform the majority of their work at job-site locations to fulfill specific contract obligations.
- Have at least 35% of its employees residing in a HUBZone
What are the benefits?
Along with the growth you’ll help bring into your community, there are unique benefits to the HUBZone Program. Because of specific government set-asides that require a certain percentage of work to be obtained from HUBZone businesses, you’ll gain a competitive edge in the contracting arena. And when your business competes among other HUBZone-certified companies, you’ll be competing within a smaller pool of contractors – so you’re chances of winning are greater. Additionally, you’ll also receive a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions.
Need additional assistance?
Interested in more HUBZone help? HUBZone offers eligibility assistance on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3pm (eastern time) at-888-858-2144 (access code 3061773#). The staff facilitates the discussion – which is driven by participant questions – by providing the answers and introducing specific topics as time allows. You’ll learn how to maintain eligibility and decrease the possibility of an initial application being declined or being decertified after obtaining the HUBZone certification.
If you’re looking for status information, need help in resolving technical difficulties or need individualized assistance, you can email email@example.com.
In honor of African American History Month, SBA convened a roundtable with faith leaders, small business advocates, and non-profit organizations in the African American community to discuss how we can reduce barriers, increase economic mobili…read more
Exporting is one of the most effective ways for small firms to expand their markets and grow their businesses.
In 2013, President Obama announced that the United States would begin negotiating a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union.
Why T-TIP Would Benefit the Economy
United States and EU are each other’s largest economic partners, with two-way merchandise trade of $650 billion and $3.8 trillion in foreign direct investment directly supporting more than 13 million jobs in both the United States and the EU. For small companies, the EU represents a considerable market, with over 94,000 U.S. small businesses exporting there in 2011. A successful T-TIP would slash red tape, cut costs, increase trade and investment and support new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic while upholding rules that protect people and the environment.
In order to best represent U.S. SMEs in the negotiations, SBA has actively engaged with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to expand export opportunities and enhance cooperation with the EU to help even more SMEs benefit from increased transatlantic trade and investment. The goal of the effort is to represent American SMEs by documenting trade barriers that disproportionally affect small business exporters and to advocate for small businesses doing business with the EU.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the U.S. economy FTAs are good for the economy. According to recent data from the International Trade Administration (ITA), trade agreements have greatly benefitted the U.S. economy:
- Exports to FTA partners are up 57% since 2009
- 46% of U.S. goods exports go to trade agreement partners
- The U.S. has a $15.2 billion trade surplus in non-oil products with FTA partners, nearly 70% higher than the 2009 value
- In 2013, 21 states had record-high exports to trade agreement countries
- Current and proposed agreements account for
a) Nearly 70% of U.S. goods exports
b) More than 60% of both global services trades and global good trades (including the U.S.), and
c) 65% of global GDP (including the U.S.)
T-TIP Current Status
T-TIP started in July 2013 and are set to continue throughout 2014. A fourth round of talks in Brussels will begin March 10. Given the relevant participation of SBA in the process leading up to the negotiations, the agency is sending a representative to this upcoming session.
For more information on the SBA and export assistance, visit www.sba.gov/oit<http://www.sba.gov/oit>
For more information on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), visit www.ustr.gov/ttip<http://www.ustr.gov/ttip>
For the seventh consecutive year, SBA is looking for small businesses to partake in our highly successful Emerging Leaders executive-level training initiative that provides the tools they need to sustain and grow their businesses. The Emerging Leaders …read more
When I was younger, my mother started a side business selling household goods, like figurines, pictures and other small items. I’d help out occasionally, accompanying her to purchase merchandise, sell items and track revenue. She started this bus…read more
In order for small businesses to remain viable in a recovering economy, access to capital must remain an SBA priority. At the same time, applying for and getting a commercial loan involves certain costs that may make borrowers think twice before …read more
Editor’s Note: This blog first appeared at Commerce.gov on February 7.
BusinessUSA was named as one of six winners yesterday for the 2014 Igniting Innovation Award, which recognizes government and industry individuals and teams who bring innovative thinking through their IT products, services, systems and solutions that benefit federal government and citizens.
Managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA), BusinessUSA is the federal government’s official assistance resource for American businesses. The platform was launched in February 2012 to serve as a “one-stop-shop” that provides businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the full range of government services and resources available to them at every stage of development.
With thousands of federal, state and local resources, BusinessUSA makes it easier for businesses to locate, access, and utilize resources most relevant to their needs. The website also saves businesses valuable time by providing easy access to information and services through several customer service channels.
In fact, President Obama today called for the White House Rural Council, in coordination with the Commerce Department, SBA and other agencies, to utilize the BusinessUSA platform as part of a new “Made in Rural America” initiative. Specifically, the agencies were tasked with using BusinessUSA to better connect rural businesses with export and investment resources through coordinated support from across the government.
The 2014 Igniting Innovation Award was presented by the American Council for Technology – Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC), a public-private partnership in the government IT community. ACT-IAC selected BusinessUSA from a pool of over 80 candidates representing various governmental agencies and private industries.
Central to the success of BusinessUSA are alliances with state and local governments, as well as close collaboration with 24 federal departments and agencies that provide relevant services. In addition to the Commerce Department and SBA, the federal partnerships include: Agriculture, Defense, Education, Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Export-Import Bank, General Services Administration, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, State, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.
For more information, visi t www.Business.USA.gov or call: 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636).read more