By Dan Nordberg
As we enter the third year of the Trump administration, we’re fortunate to have a pPresident who understands the vital role women entrepreneurs play in our economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) supports the president’s business advocacy by nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and making sure small business has a voice at the table in Washington, D.C.
During Women’s History Month, we salute women entrepreneurs who take a risk in pursuit of their passions and who see setbacks as steps toward something bigger and better. Sometimes entrepreneurs just need a helping hand — whether it’s advice, funding or encouragement from someone who has been there.
Women remain a critical economic force across America. The American Express “2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses” report, which makes its projections based on data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, estimates that there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses. These entities account for 40 percent of all U.S. businesses and generate an estimated $1.8 trillion in revenue, with $386.6 billion in revenue coming from minority women-owned businesses.
The SBA has seen its loans to women increase each and every year since the early 2000s. In 2018, the SBA approved 12,200 loans, worth $4.1 billion, to women-owned businesses across the nation. More than one in four U.S. companies is owned or led by a woman and these firms employ more than 8 million Americans. We know there are many more aspiring women entrepreneurs interested in getting their businesses off the ground and sometimes it just takes a little support. To that end, the SBA has built an extensive support network of resources partners that provide a wide range of services for women entrepreneurs.
The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. It offers programs through each of the agency’s 68 district offices, providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital and marketing opportunities. The network of 114 Women’s Business Centers provides additional training, coaching and mentoring to entrepreneurs in communities around the country. Last year, WBCs supported more than 150,000 women, resulting in tremendous revenue and job growth for the businesses they served — $1.7 billion in revenue and 17,000 new jobs. In SBA Region VIII, there are Women’s Business Centers in Denver; Laramie, Wyoming; Salt Lake City; Bismarck, North Dakota; Spearfish, South Dakota; and Bozeman, Montana.
The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development tracks the government’s goal of assuring that 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars are awarded to women-owned small businesses. The SBA trains entrepreneurs on how to evaluate their readiness for government contracting, register as a government contractor, navigate the federal rules and qualify for contracts through small-business set-aside programs. In 2017, there were 19,523 women-owned small businesses that were awarded prime contract dollars by the federal government. A total of $20.8 billion in prime government contracts were awarded to women-owned small businesses supporting more than 115,000 jobs. More than 82,000 jobs were created or supported through the $15 billion in federal subcontracting to women-owned small businesses in fiscal year 2017.
Women entrepreneurs are one key to increasing the number of well-paying, quality jobs in all communities, especially in rural parts of our country. During national Women’s History Month, it is important to remember the critical role women play in our economy, both at the national and local levels.
Dan Nordberg is SBA’s Region VIII administrator and is based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.