As the acting assistant administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the US Small Business Administration (SBA), I have seen firsthand the impact of women-owned small businesses in the marketplace and on our economy.

Now is the time

Small business optimism has continued to gain momentum. The stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. Entrepreneurs are willing to take a risk on starting or growing their businesses, and I believe this is an especially exciting time for women entrepreneurs.

A recent SBA Office of Advocacy report on women’s business ownership described women entrepreneurs as an “economic powerhouse.” The report, based on the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, offers some impressive data: Women own 9.9 million businesses in the US; women employ more than 8 million workers; women provide more than $264 billion in wages and salaries to employees; and women-owned businesses contribute $1.4 trillion in sales to our national economy.

Resources are necessary

We could not do our work or reach as many people without the exceptional contributions of the SBA’s resource partners, including the Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), the Small Business Development Centers and SCORE, which together help over one million small business owners each year. We know that entrepreneurs receiving their assistance are more likely to start a business and successfully obtain financing critical to business growth.

"Entrepreneurs are willing to take a risk on starting or growing their businesses, and I believe this is an especially exciting time for women entrepreneurs."

Through the counseling and training our resource partners provide, women entrepreneurs are able to move forward on their path to success, no matter their stage in the business cycle.

Last year, the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers helped more than 146,000 small businesses start and grow their operations. The WBCs not only help to educate women in business, but also provide valuable networks that help women to succeed in business.

Diverse support

While some may only associate the SBA with loans, when really, we offer much more. Though loan backing is certainly a big part of our mission, the SBA also provides invaluable mentorship and business development counseling. These offers are especially helpful for small business start-ups that may need direction on how to develop their business plan, build a website, get access to capital or obtain small business loans. We help to match entrepreneurs with our lenders so that the funding they need is available in the markets where they need it.

The economy

It’s clear that women small business owners are contributing in a major way to the growth of the US economy, and women often bring a unique and valued skill set to entrepreneurship. At the SBA, we know business success can be achieved with the right tools. We want to empower and champion women who embrace their entrepreneurial spirit by providing quality training, counseling and access to resources.