More women are becoming business owners with Black women becoming the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs nationwide.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports the number of new businesses started by women during pandemic is up by 30 percent.
This comes after SBA officials say they noticed more women leaving the labor market during the pandemic and many of them turned their side hustles into new careers.
“We are doing it for necessity. We’re doing it for experience. We’re doing it to make up for the wage gap that exists,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, SBA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership.
Across the nation, the SBA is now operating more than 140 Women’s Business Centers, which is the most in the agency’s history.
These centers help women entrepreneurs with resources and support.
“We realized that more places across the country needed a Women’s Business Resource Center,” said Cofield. “Women needed to be able to either physically or online, walk into a center, receive counseling, be able to go through training programs, get technical assistance on how to put together government contract bids and risk proposal responses, learn how to get access to capital, and then also just build a community.”
The agency also increased its budget for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership from $22 million to $70 million.
“Across the country, we had roughly $45 million that were provided to these centers for programmatic innovations, to address COVID, and to be able to provide their services and deliver their services to women, where they were,” said Cofield.
And now women entrepreneurs even have a direct line to top SBA officials too.
“It means for today and for tomorrow, that women have a direct line of communication, to meet with the administrator of the Small Business Administration, and to talk directly with the administrator about the challenges and the opportunities,” she said.
The SBA is also expanding Women’s Business Centers to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other predominately minority institutions.
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