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Bibi Hidalgo

“We don’t need to do it alone” says SBA’s Bibi Hidalgo, to aspiring Latina entrepreneurs 

Bibi Hidalgo is the Associate Administrator for Government Contracting & Business Development at the SBA and is the first ever woman appointed by the President for this role. 

In this role, Bibi Hidalgo oversees and reviews procurement policies for small businesses hoping to work with the Federal Government. This includes for Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Veteran-owned firms, HUBZone firms, Woman-owned small businesses, and firms in the 8(a) Minority Business Development Program.

In her prior role, she was the SBA Government Contracting Policy Lead for the Biden-Harris Transition Team, developing policies that President Biden could execute in the first 100 days, with an emphasis on underserved communities. In 2014, Bibi and her brother Patrick Hidalgo co-founded Future Partners, LLC, which advised Fortune 500 corporate executives on procurement and minority business strategy, and created a model for how to facilitate significant opportunities for both.   

Bibi Hidalgo is dedicating her work to the memory of her brother Patrick who passed away suddenly at the age of 41 in March of 2020.

“We don’t need to do it alone” 

Working closely with Latinas and other women entrepreneurs, Bibi knows it can be easy to think we must do it all on our own in order to be seen as successful or capable, but that is not the case. 

“We don’t need to do it alone. And that’s really important for us to remember that we don’t need to do it alone. Because every day, we’re asking ourselves, is this the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? Am I alienating myself, or am I ingratiating myself, and you need to kind of touch base with someone to get a temperature check,” says Bibi. 

As women, having a supportive circle is crucial, especially in male-dominated industries where support may be hard to come by. 

“Whether you want to be an economist, finance expert, astronaut, or the best app developer, there is very much your place in your world to be there. And to and to be sure to lean on other women for support. Be sure to create that circle of support, that really wants to see you rise, and that you help each other do that. I have such a strong support system that I’m so grateful for.”

For Bibi, her support system helped her stay strong in the face of challenges and adversity. She advises women to seek out those mentors in their industry, lean into support, and also stay strong and believe in your knowledge and technical capabilities. Don’t question yourself. 

“I am the first woman appointed by the President to be an Associate Administrator of Government Contracting and Business Development. And if I have caved into some of my self-doubt, I would never be here because it’s very much a man’s world. And yet, I set that aside in my brain, and knew that I could tackle this issue, and hang with the guys on such a complicated topic. And now I’m able to lead and we’re effecting change together.” 

Jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

“Keep driving it home and pushing hard” 

As a woman in a male-dominated field you may not always be the most popular. You might be the first ever woman in your role, and that can be tough. 

“I very much learned in business, that you have to make tough decisions that not everyone’s going to agree with. And those are sometimes the loneliest moments, as I’ve heard other leaders say, leadership is lonely,” says Bibi. “And so that’s why you have to make sure you have that network of support, where you can get a pulse check every once in a while, and where you can continue to believe in yourself. Because as long as you do that, you’re going to be able to affect change, and then you get to look back on your career and say, ‘Yeah, I did that. It was tough. I have the battle scars to prove it. But I did it.’”

44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. (Photo credit: Pete Souza, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

For Bibi, there have been many challenges and wins. One story that always stands out is when she first joined President Obama’s Administration, in 2009. 

“Within a matter of weeks, my agency got a call from the White House saying that they were hit hard, they were getting hit hard on the issue of the recovery stimulus, and not enough contracts going to minority owned businesses. And so I was tasked with staffing our deputy, but what they asked us to do was do events around the country, which we did. And the challenge was that there were some folks who were not too excited about this issue…there was a lot of angst about it, and a lot of pushback.” 

Facing these pushbacks made it difficult for Bibi to do her work and as the struggles persisted she began to have doubts that she could get the job done and affect positive change. 

“I had to navigate a lot of complexities and really try to keep faith, which was hard, and it was getting harder day by day. But sometimes you don’t realize you’re at that point. At a tipping point, you don’t know until you’re there and sometimes it can get really, really hard, really tough until you get there and especially as a woman, in my case and Latina.”

However, Bibi persisted and really focused on driving home her key issues. This strategy was critical to her success. 

“If you try to be everywhere at once, you really have to pick one or two things and to drive it home. And so that’s what I did. I learned it really made all the difference to keep driving hard to keep pushing hard.” 

Her hard work was eventually recognized by higher up officials and Bibi was called to the White House to be acknowledged for her work.

“That’s what I mean by ‘don’t give up.’ Follow your instinct, follow your gut, know what’s most important. Because that changed my life permanently. I always go back to that day, that day that I got that request to go into his office, it was the last thing I could have ever imagined. And yet it affirmed the work I was doing and made me realize I was on the right track.” 

You might be interested: Latina career coach and author Cici Castelli shares key tips to unlock your success mindset in new book

Today, Bibi Hidalgo is grateful to be back and able to pick up her work where she left off. 

“So much has happened in the interim, and we have our work cut out for us in so many different ways. Businesses, minority women businesses were not always prioritized. And so we’re trying to get that back in a direction, where it is an important priority among all of our priorities in advancing socio economic groups,” says Bibi. 

She is excited to continue working to create opportunities for women and minority business owners across the country and continue working with and supporting women in business.


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president joe biden

President Biden proclaims May 1-7 as National Small Business Week

SBA highlights National Small Business Week celebration “Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship” with remarks from President Biden.

SBA, Isabel Guzman

SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s 2022 National Small Business Week celebrations will officially commence with a three-day virtual summit and an awards ceremony for honorees. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will kick off the national event on Monday, May 2, addressing registered participants during the educational, training, and networking event. To end the celebration, President Joe Biden will deliver pre-recorded remarks congratulating our National Small Business Week award winners and acknowledging the contributions of America’s 32.5 million small businesses to our Nation’s historic economic comeback.

President Biden, in his proclamation declaring May 1-7 as National Small Business Week, stated, “For generations, small businesses across America have shaped and embodied our Nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and driven our economy forward. Today, more than 32 million small businesses employ almost half of America’s workforce and represent the heart and soul of countless communities. During National Small Business Week, we celebrate America’s small businesses and their enormous contributions to American life and prosperity.

“When I first took office, the pandemic had devastated America’s small business community. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses had closed, main streets were shuttered, and millions more Americans were out of work through no fault of their own. Even with the creativity and resilience of small business owners and workers, COVID-19 took an incalculable toll on so many lives and livelihoods. That is why I made it a top priority to provide substantial, immediate relief to our Nation’s small businesses, giving them the tools, resources, and support they needed to reopen, rehire, and rebuild.

“My American Rescue Plan and other emergency relief programs distributed hundreds of billions of dollars to millions of small businesses to keep the lights on and keep workers on the payroll. My Administration also removed historic barriers to level the playing field for businesses across rural and urban America, especially businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of color. These efforts have helped millions of small businesses not only weather the pandemic but thrive.

President Biden and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman. (Photo source)

“My Administration is committed to unlocking new opportunities to help small businesses grow and compete. Through the American Rescue Plan, our State Small Business Credit Initiative provides States, territories, and Tribal governments with resources to establish loan and equity capital programs to support entrepreneurs. In addition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has created unprecedented contracting opportunities for small businesses in every community. Already, more than 4,000 projects have been announced to upgrade America’s infrastructure, creating significant opportunities for small businesses to grow. The law is delivering affordable high-speed internet access to every community — urban, rural, suburban, and Tribal — so every small business can use digital technologies and gain new customers across the country and around the world. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the Minority Business Development Agency within the United States Department of Commerce a permanent entity — seeded with a record amount of funding — so minority-owned businesses can receive tailored assistance for their unique challenges and access the capital they need to grow.

“I firmly believe that equal opportunity is the bedrock of our democracy. That is why my Administration is committed to using Federal procurement dollars to support firms owned by underrepresented people and to help small businesses build generational wealth. Last year, I announced a set of reforms to increase contracting opportunities for underserved businesses by up to 50 percent by 2025. We are also capitalizing on our historic investments in supply chain resilience and “Made in America” manufacturing so small businesses can innovate, compete, and build the products of tomorrow. To position small businesses for success in the long term, the United States Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot program is forging stronger partnerships with local organizations to get resources to underserved small businesses.

“Thanks to these initiatives and the resilience of the American people, America’s entrepreneurial spirit has never been stronger. New business applications grew by more than 30 percent over the course of the pandemic, with almost 5.4 million new applications in 2021 alone. More Americans than ever before — including more women and people of color — are following their dreams and starting new enterprises. My Administration will continue to support them, build upon this remarkable resurgence, and strengthen the foundation of our economy with America’s small businesses at the forefront.

You might be interested: Biden-Harris Administration expands SBA Pilot Program targeting access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs

“This National Small Business Week, let us renew our commitment to supporting our Nation’s small businesses. From local “mom and pop” shops to innovative start-ups, small businesses are pillars of our communities and the engine of our economy. By rebuilding our economy from the bottom up and middle out, we can maintain our global competitiveness and build a stronger Nation where everyone can succeed.

 

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A post shared by Isabel Guzman (@sbaisabel)

The President’s proclamation closes with “NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 1 through May 7, 2022, as National Small Business Week. I call upon all Americans to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the American economy, continue supporting them, and honor the occasion with programs and activities that highlight these important businesses.”

This year’s National Small Business Week virtual conference will offer free educational webinars, free business advice, and an opportunity to network with fellow business owners.

Registration is required; individuals interested in the conference can register here.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

Biden-Harris Administration expands SBA Pilot Program targeting access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs

Vice President Kamala Harris unveils improvements to SBA Community Advantage Pilot Program at White House Event with SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman.

On Wednesday, March 30, Vice President Kamala Harris and Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced impactful reforms to the agency’s Community Advantage (CA) loan program, a key SBA tool for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Development Companies (CDCs), microlenders and other critical mission-based lending partners, that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

“America’s mission-driven lenders have been a critical partner to the SBA in getting much-needed financial relief to underserved businesses throughout the COVID pandemic. Scaling the SBA’s Community Advantage pilot program will help us build on that momentum, create a broader distribution network and better ensure the opportunities of our nation’s accelerating recovery are accessible to more entrepreneurs pursuing their American dreams of starting and growing a successful business,” said Administrator Guzman

“The Community Advantage pilot expansion and reforms reflect the central role that President Biden and Vice President Harris have given to building equity across this Administration and removing historic inequities and barriers that have limited economic growth for all. My thanks to Vice President Harris, a longtime champion for Community Development Financial Institutions and other mission-driven lenders, for supporting this important change and helping to improve access to capital for more American entrepreneurs.”

Among the reforms announced for the Community Advantage program, the SBA will: 

  • Extend the pilot program to September 30, 2024, providing more certainty for the Community Advantage program, which was set to end in September 2022.
  • Lift the four-year lender moratorium and enable the SBA to grow this important lender network, opening up a critical capital program to more mission-based lenders across the country.
  • Increase the maximum loan size, the new expanded number of lenders will be allowed to access the SBA’s 7(a) government-guaranteed loan program at lending levels up to $350,000, which represent an increase over the current levels of $250,000.
  • Remove the restrictions that can keep individuals with criminal backgrounds from accessing the Community Advantage program.
  • Simplify underwriting and collateral requirements for borrowers and lenders, including increasing the maximum unsecured loan size from $25,000 to $50,000, removing barriers that disproportionally impact underserved borrowers.
  • Introduce additional abilities for lenders to make revolvers and lines of credit, interest-only periods, and other loan modifications that meet borrowers where they are to best serve their capital needs.
  • Redefine packaging fee guidelines to better enable CDFIs, CDCs, and mission lenders participating in the Community Advantage program to scale and increase volume to underserved communities.

Filling Gaps by Connecting Underserved Small Businesses to Capital

Designed to meet the credit, management, and technical assistance needs of small businesses in underserved markets, the SBA’s Community Advantage pilot loan program was launched during the Obama-Biden Administration and originally set to expire in September 2022. The program was intended to provide mission-oriented lenders, primarily nonprofit financial intermediaries focused on economic development, access to 7(a) loan guarantees previously for loans of only $250,000 or less. Community Advantage continues to be the best avenue to allow mission-driven lenders to access SBA 7(a) loans. The SBA’s goals for the Community Advantage program include:

  • Increasing access to credit for small businesses located in underserved areas;
  • Expanding points of access to the SBA 7(a) loan program by allowing participation of non-traditional, mission-oriented lenders; and 
  • Providing Management and Technical Assistance (M&TA) to small businesses, as needed.

You might be interested: SBA Women’s Business Ownership Assistant Administrator Natalie Madeira Cofield shares resources for women entrepreneurs to grow and thrive

Allies Praise Biden-Harris Administration Expansion of SBA’s Community Advantage Pilot Program 

Marla Bilonick, President and CEO, NALCAB of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders: “The Community Advantage Pilot Program (CA) is a lifeline for Latino small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in underserved markets. Through nonprofit financial intermediaries that have deep knowledge of their communities, CA provides the tools and support needed to be successful. NALCAB has been closely engaged with the SBA on changes to the CA program that will help even more of our nation’s innovators start a business, grow and create new jobs. We applaud these reforms and urge swift adoption.”

Ron Busby Sr., President and CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc: “The US Black Chambers is proud to support the changes to the Community Advantage program, understanding that the program plays a critical role in connecting Black businesses to capital in their communities. CDFIs ensure that Black firms can access capital from institutions that look like them, live in their communities, and understand their local economies. Underscoring that access to capital is the primary barrier for Black businesses to grow and scale, we applaud the SBA and the White House for working with stakeholders to ensure that programs like Community Advantage can continue to adapt to meet the needs of today’s economy.

Hilda Kennedy, Founder and President, AmPac Business Capital: “I have been involved on a number of committees, but I have never seen a regulatory body so committed to hearing the voices of the constituents with a timebound commitment to execute on what they heard.  I am utterly confident that these reforms in Community Advantage will have a game-changing impact on loans to underserved communities and specifically those communities that have had a 30-40% drop in SBA Lending – Black and Latino communities. The SBA Administrator came to Washington DC, not for pomp and circumstance, but to roll up her sleeves and work for small businesses, and she has delivered in just one year!”  

To learn more about Community Advantage and additional small business financial assistance programs, visit your local SBA office at www.sba.gov.

Women’s History Month celebration gathers nationally recognized Latina leaders and influencers

“Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America will explore if the American Dream is still possible for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, with national speakers and influencers sharing the obstacles and barriers they overcame to get to the top.

 

National Conversation Latina LeadersIn celebration of Women’s History Month, Latinas in Business Inc. announces main speakers for their 4th National Conversation with Latina Leaders to discuss “Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.”

The virtual event will be held on Friday, March 25 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST – 9:00 am to 11:00 am PST on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook. For free registration to this event visit https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com. The event is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. 

Bibi Hidalgo, Associate Administrator, SBA Office of Government Contracting & Business Development (TBC), has been invited as Keynote Speaker. Hidalgo oversees and reviews procurement-related policies for small business contractors hoping to work with the Federal Government, including Woman-owned, Veteran-owned, Socially Disadvantaged, HUBZone, and 8(a) Minority Business Development Program small businesses.

Albania Rosario, founder and CEO of Fashion Designers of Latin America, has been confirmed as Celebrity Speaker. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she uprooted and moved to the New York City with her parents in 2000, and launched her initiative that has now an international reach to several countries in Latin America. 

Susana G Bauman, President and CEO of Latinas in Business Inc said, “Once the fastest demographics opening businesses in the USA, Latinas and other minority women have fallen behind during the pandemic. 

We are asking the question if the American Dream is still possible them, a long overdue discussion about opportunities, resources and funding discrimination, and what can be done to close that gap. We are gathering a successful lineup of national speakers to share their experiences with others.”

Join us and all supporting organizations in bringing real solutions to America’s backbone, small businesses, and especially minority women and Latina-owned businesses, their talent, innovation and their constant sense of purpose to support their communities. 

For registration please visit: https://latinas-success.eventbrite.com

SBA Women’s Business Ownership Assistant Administrator Natalie Madeira Cofield shares resources for women entrepreneurs to grow and thrive

 Latinas in Business President and CEO Susana G Bauman recently spoke with Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss resources for women entrepreneurs. 

In their conversation, Natalie highlighted various SBA initiatives and programs that benefit small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially minority women entrepreneurs, and how small business owners can take advantage of these programs to grow their businesses and thrive

As the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Natalie serves as a senior executive providing executive oversight, management, leadership, and championship of female entrepreneurship and oversees the expansion of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) network across its nearly 140 center footprint. 

In addition to her work at the SBA, Natalie is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 15 years of experience in securing diverse capital, building strategic partnerships, and leading state and local economic development policy advocacy to successfully incubate and scale small business development and expansion initiatives in communities throughout the United States. 

Most recently she served as Founder & CEO of Walker’s Legacy and the Walker’s Legacy Foundation providing entrepreneurship programming to support thousands of multicultural women entrepreneurs.

Last year, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership was elevated to report directly to the Office of Administrator Guzman. This elevation is a big win for women entrepreneurs and business owners as it puts the agenda of women and women equality right at the ear of leadership with a direct line of communication to the cabinet level secretary, giving priority and immediacy to the challenges of women entrepreneurs. 

Overcoming challenges as a woman entrepreneur 

Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at the U.S. Small Business Administration. (Photo source: sba.gov)

As an entrepreneur herself and the daughter of a woman entrepreneur, Natalie knows first hand the challenges women face when starting their own business. 

“My story really starts with me as a young girl reading the business plans of my mother when I was 11 years old. My mom is the first entrepreneur and intrapreneur that I was ever really exposed to. She was a Senior Vice President at one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Rochester community, which is where I grew up as a young girl. And I realized even though I hated reading them at the time that I was learning so much about what business looks like, what it meant to start a business, what planning is required for women in leadership, the challenges that we had.”

Natalie watched as her mother grew as an entrepreneur and she saw how people respected her and also how people disrespected her as a leading woman. 

“When I say the disrespectful piece, I’m talking about the fact that women have oftentimes found themselves challenged in their leadership in ways that many times men are not. And whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it does have an impact on women, and most certainly had an impact on my mom. And you know, I’m proud to be in a new generation of women who are leading another path that is inspired and paved by women who came before me to really continue to break glass ceilings and to shatter all the limitations that are put before us.”

Becoming an entrepreneur at age 26, Natalie has been a serial entrepreneur ever since. Now in her role as the Assistant Administrator at the SBA, Natalie is honored to represent 12 million women-owned small businesses and continue to expand their network of business resource providers and centers across the country. 

Some challenges Natalie has noticed in her role at the SBA include the pervasive challenges that women entrepreneurs have had historically, which is access to capital, access to contracts, access to educational resources, and access to networks—along with additional challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic

sbagov #YearInReview Small businesses are the giants of America’s economy.

Since the pandemic, a common challenge many women have reported is struggling to manage the duplicity of their role as a mother or caretaker— regardless of what their maternal status is— and as a small business owner. The pandemic put women in a position where they were challenged around managing time, managing emotions, and managing the health and wellness of themselves and others, while giving so much of themselves to their communities. 

“We saw during the pandemic the impact that inequity still has on women, as it relates to who’s the first to to leave the workforce, both by required force of the small business and also by default of the many roles and hats that women wear,” said Natalie. 

In fact the COVID-19 pandemic saw women leaving the workforce at higher rates than any other time since the 1980s. 

“So when you layer that health and wellness component, and the lack of access to markets during COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the existing challenges that women entrepreneurs have had, it creates the type of moment that we’re just trying to address right now at the Small Business Administration, which is a moment where we’re trying to ensure that women have the resources that they need to rebuild, or build, to scale and to grow,” said Natalie. “And that requires that we ensure that we have resource centers across the country, that the distribution of disaster recovery relief is equitable as it relates to women, which I’m proud to say that this Administration and Administrator has done.”

View the full conversation below!

Additionally the SBA has been working to address challenges many minority and immigrant entrepreneurs face in the access of resources. One big obstacle has been addressing the language and linguistic barrier and ensuring that resources and documents are available in enough languages to reach all of the small business community across the country. 

Another hurdle that the SBA has helped clear is removing restrictions that previously limited who could access resources. 

“When the Biden Harris administration came into office, we realized that the smallest of the small businesses had challenges getting access to PPP,” said Natalie. “We removed the requirements for student loan debt, which disproportionately affects Latinas as it relates to access to education, many of them are taking out educational student loans. And so having that debt would then disqualify them from having access to PPP. We also removed the requirement to have a social security number and allow for those businesses to have tax identification numbers, which made the community of non-citizen based US folks more eligible for access to PPP funding.” 

Still, with these barriers removed, documentation is still needed for applications to these assistance programs. Natalie urges businesses to prioritize bookkeeping and utilize the SBA resource centers for help. 

“There’s an old saying, ‘You don’t have to get ready when you stay ready.’ At the end of the day, you still need to have your books. You need to know what your numbers are, you still need to be able to enter this information in and to ensure that you are eligible,” says Natalie.

You might be interested: 6 Key business planning resources for Latina entrepreneurs to start anew in 2022

resources for women entrepreneurs

Ascent Platform is a free learning platform by the SBA, providing training and resources for women entrepreneurs. (Photo source: ascent.sba.gov)

SBA Programs & Resources for women entrepreneurs 

Some key resources woman entrepreneurs can utilize to grow and thrive their business: 

Women’s Business Center Network Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are a part a national network of entrepreneurship centers throughout the United States and its territories, which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. The SBA has 140 Women’s Business Centers across the country, where you can go for training, counseling, advisory courses, assistance with government contracts, applications, and financial applications for loans and other forms of access to capital.

Small Business Development Centers If there is not a Women’s Business Center in a community near you, then you’re also able to access Small Business Development Centers, with over 900 centers across the country. Small Business Development Centers provide counseling and training to small businesses including working with the SBA to develop and provide informational tools to support business start-ups and existing business expansion.

Ascent Platform  Ascent is a free learning platform for women entrepreneurs. Women are able to access training and educational resources to teach them how to scale and grow from their kitchen table. If you do not have access to a center, or you don’t have the time to go into a center this platform allows you to manage the training of starting a business whenever and wherever you want to do that. 

SBA Government Contracting Programs The SBA offers government contracting programs like the Women Owned Small Business Certification program, and the 8(a) Business Development program for which Latino entrepreneurs, the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in the country, are eligible to apply for and to compete for government contracting opportunities.

To learn more about opportunities for women entrepreneurs visit sba.gov

SBA Administrator announces plans to elevate the Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Earlier last week,  U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced that the SBA intends to elevate its Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) to directly report to the Office of the Administrator. The proposed change reflects the importance of women entrepreneurs held by the Biden-Harris Administration and SBA.

Established by Executive Order in 1979 and codified through the Women’s Small Business Act of 1988, OWBO’s mission has been to empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support.

Under Administrator Guzman, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to a record 140 locations nationwide. These WBCs offer a network of extensive on-the-ground resources that include free to low-cost counseling, training, business development technical assistance and are dedicated to assisting women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and expand their enterprises.

SBA, Isabella Casillas Guzman

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

“In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, there are over 12 million proving that women entrepreneurs have become the fastest growing and one of the most impactful segments of the business community,” said Administrator Guzman in a press release. “While there has been historic progress in women’s entrepreneurship, significant disparities still persist, impacting women entrepreneurs’ access to resources and opportunity, especially in the face of the economic challenges posed by COVID. That is why I am proud to advance the mission of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and reaffirm our commitment to America’s women-owned small businesses.”

This announcement comes after the release of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality commissioned by the White House outlining objectives and priorities for obtaining equity for women. 

“Women entrepreneurs are key to spurring innovation and supporting local economies and families across the country. That is why it’s so important that we continue to invest in women-owned businesses and give them the tools they need to succeed and grow. The elevation of this office sends a clear signal of this Administration’s commitment to ensure an equitable economic recovery, putting women at the forefront of our efforts to build back better for everyone. The White House Gender Policy Council looks forward to an ongoing strong partnership with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership in the months and years ahead,” said Jennifer Klein, Deputy Assistant to the President and Co-Chair and Executive Director of the WH Gender Policy Council.

Women represent the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment in the country, with particularly high growth in entrepreneurship amongst multicultural women. Data from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy found that between 2014 and 2016, the number of employer firms owned by women grew six percent, twice the growth rate of employer firms owned by men. This exponential growth was mainly driven by an increase in employer businesses owned by minority women, which grew 14 percent in that time.

Photo created by tirachardz on Freepik.

COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to women-owned businesses which is why prioritizing recovery and addressing long standing inequities for women entrepreneurs is crucial to the survival and continued growth of these businesses. The elevation of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership will help ensure the continued success of the Women’s Business Center network. 

While it is evident that women entrepreneurs play a key role in our society and economy, they still remain underrepresented in many key factors, including access to capital, contracts, and connections. Led by OWBO, the SBA assists women-owned businesses in leveraging government resources – including recently announced opportunities through an equitable federal procurement strategy, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Build Back Better Act – to level the playing field. 

Currently, the OWBO is an organizational component of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. The SBA emphasizes that the reorganization is still in the planning stages and likely will not be finalized until the close of fiscal year 2022.

To find Women’s Business Center locations and additional SBA resources in your area, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.

National Entrepreneurship Day: Bounce back post-Covid with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Today is National Entrepreneurship Day, an annual event that occurs on the third Tuesday of November to honor our nation’s entrepreneurs. 

Officially Established in 2010, then-President Barack Obama proclaimed the last day of 2010’s National Entrepreneur Week as National Entrepreneurship Day. 

In the past year, U.S. entrepreneurs have faced historic challenges in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses were forced to close, faced setbacks, and financial losses. However, we have also seen great hope and innovation during this time as entrepreneurs and business owners found ways to adapt and communities came together to help each other. Additionally, this time saw a boom of new businesses established during the pandemic. 

In a White House statement for the Proclamation of National Entrepreneurship Month 2021, President Biden said, 

“In the midst of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, Americans started more than 4 million businesses last year, a 24 percent increase from the year before — the highest number of monthly business applications on record — and start-up rates growing the most among immigrants and Black, Latino, and Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Americans.  This is important for our future success, as small businesses are the engines of our economic progress — and the heart and soul of our communities.” 

To help entrepreneurs and small business owners recover post-Covid, various programs have been established dedicated to providing aid and assistance. One program small businesses can benefit from to bounce back financially in the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 

Economic recovery for small businesses: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan 

The COVID-19 EIDL is a federal small business loan program that supports small businesses’ recovery from COVID-19’s economic impacts by providing accessible and borrower-friendly capital. The program is open to small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories. 

“The SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program offers a lifeline to millions of small businesses who are still being impacted by the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a press release

The loan comes directly from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and must be repaid. It is a low-interest, fixed-rate, long-term loan to help businesses overcome the effects of the pandemic by providing working capital to meet operating expenses. 

Proceeds can be used to make regular payments for operating expenses, including payroll, rent/mortgage, utilities, and other ordinary business expenses, and to pay business debt incurred at any time (past, present, or future). 

Maximum Loan Amount: $2 million

Loan Term: 30 years

Interest Rate:

  • Businesses: 3.75% fixed
  • Private nonprofit organizations: 2.75% fixed

Payment Deferment: Payments are deferred for the first 2 years (during which interest will accrue), and payments of principal and interest are made over the remaining 28 years. No penalty for prepayment.

For more information visit the SBA site.

How to Apply 

To be eligible, applicants must be physically located in the United States or designated territory and must have suffered working capital losses due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A comprehensive list of additional eligibility requirements can be found here

To apply, first-time COVID EIDL applicants should complete the following steps:

  1. Confirm eligibility 
  2. Complete Intake Form.
  3. Sign up to create portal username via SBA email invite.
  4. Complete portal steps and submit relevant documents.
  5. Respond to SBA requests for signature, confirmation, and documents.

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All business owners who have received previous loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) can still benefit from COVID EIDL. For no-cost assistance for the COVID EIDL program, and every other SBA program, go to www.sba.gov/local-assistance and connect with a local resource partner near you.

women veterans

Veterans make great entrepreneurs: resources to grow and thrive

Veterans make great entrepreneurs. In fact, many of the skills veterans learn in their military training translate very well to business. Skills such as: confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus are some that veterans share with successful entrepreneurs. 

According to the Small Business Administration, veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales. Additionally, of that 2.4 million, veteran women own close to 100,000 businesses, making up 4 percent of the market.

Many of those women veteran entrepreneurs are likely also minorities. In 2015, data collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that “a higher percentage of women-veterans than non-veterans were Black or African American non-Hispanic (19 percent compared with 12 percent). The racial composition of women in the military explains some of these differences. In contrast, the percentage of women-veterans who were Hispanic was a little more than half that of non-Veterans (9 percent compared with 16 percent).” 

As the fastest growing population in the military, Hispanics make up about 16% of all active-duty military, according to the Department of Defense. Additionally, the National Association of American Veterans states that more Latinas are serving in the Army than Latino men, with Latinas making up 48 percent of the women in the U.S. military. Many of these women may become future entrepreneurs themselves, after their military career. 

In an interview with Latina Style Magazine, Paulette Rivera, Senior Airman, Staff Select in the U.S. Air Force said, “Joining the military is a good stepping stone for any other career in the future and a place to find your voice and gain confidence.” 

That confidence is a key trait for success. Women veterans looking to become business owners and entrepreneurs can leverage their military training and channel those traits into their future ventures. To encourage and support our women veteran entrepreneurs, below are some resources to help you grow and thrive. 

You might be interested: The glass ceiling: Career development inequality for women of color

Resources for Women Veteran Business Owners 

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time with direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship. VEP makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source—and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information.

SBA Boots to Business Program – Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by SBA as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). B2B provides participants with an overview of business ownership and is open to transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses.

Veterans Business Outreach Center Program – SBA’s VBOCs offer business plan workshops, concept assessments, training, counseling, and mentorship opportunities in your area. VBOCs can also help you navigate SBA’s extensive resource partner network and refer you to a community partner, lender, or SBA program. Find your nearest center.

Additional SBA resources for veteran entrepreneurs 

Grants and resources for women-veteran owned businesses

Latinas in Business Editorial Intern Fe-Licitty Branch contributed to this article. 

With over 13 million women-owned businesses, Women entrepreneurs are unstoppable

Today, there are over 13 million women-owned businesses and women are starting businesses at double the national average rate, according to the 2019 State of Woman-Owned Businesses Report. Additionally, women of color make up the majority of new business owners, making them the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. The month of October is National Women’s Small Business Month, which celebrates women-owned businesses and their effect on the country’s economy. 

In 1972, there were only 400,000 women-owned businesses and until 1988 women needed a male relative to co-sign business loans. Since then we have come so far. 

According to the 2019 report, women-owned companies grew 3.9% annually from 2014 to 2019, 2.2% more than all businesses at the time. By 2019, women-owned businesses represented 45% of all U.S. businesses and generated $1.9 trillion worth of revenue. Despite these great advancements, there are still many hurdles women entrepreneurs face when starting new businesses.

This week, from October 18 – 22, marks Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) where colleges and organizations across the country host events and share resources to help women entrepreneurs grow and succeed. Berkeley College is one of many institutions that will be hosting a WEW event. The virtual event, The Future is Women, will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, October 19 and will feature panels of diverse women leaders and entrepreneurs. See here more information and to register

(Image source: Berkeley College)

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration  (SBA) offers plenty of resources for women business owners and entrepreneurs to help women entrepreneurs launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace.

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership is one branch within the SBA that specifically works to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. Established in 1979, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership has fostered the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded. It supports programs through each of the SBA’s 68 district offices, providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities.

Resources and further reading for Women Business Owners and Entrepreneurs 

Women have made tremendous leaps and bounds in the area of business and entrepreneurship in recent decades. With over 13 million women-owned businesses and counting and the fastest growing group of business owners, women are an unstoppable force. To continue to foster this growth, we must continue to share resources and support initiatives that support women entrepreneurs. Below are a few resources and articles for further reading to help women entrepreneurs get started and succeed.