Initiative Helps Women-Owned Businesses

March 31, 1999

Initiative Helps Women-Owned Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration has set forth a plan to develop products and services that will accelerate the growth of women-owned businesses.

The initiative will ensure that female business owners are offered an equal share of financial assistance and procurement opportunities, says SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez in a release. As part of the plan, SBA has already revamped its SBAExpress loan program, adding a revolving line of credit, and now provides on-line courses and educational materials about finances and business practices through the SBA Online Women's Business Center (www.onlinewbc.org) and the Small Business Classroom (classroom.sba.gov/xtrainx). SBA also added two women-owned venture capital firms to its Small Business Investment Companies financing program and worked with other federal agencies to increase the number of government contracts given to women-owned businesses.

The SBA has been targeting minority and women business owners for taxpayer-guaranteed loans since Alvarez took over as administrator. Women-owned businesses currently receive 24% of these loans. The new initiatives are a result of recommendations from the Women's Economic Summit in 1998, which brought together 550 members of the women's business community.

- by Stacey King