Starting a new business can be challenging, especially when money is a concern. Knowing where o start, learning the rules, regulations and licensing requirements, and navigating the overload of resources can be intimidating. These are some of the reasons why women do not follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Yet, given the importance of small businesses to our national economy and the financial independence women acquire, they should.

Across the nation, women business owners are an economic powerhouse, and the number of women-owned small businesses is growing in multiples of the national average. The small businesses they own have helped lead the way to a thriving economy by creating jobs and producing goods and services for the international marketplace. Nearly 12 million companies in the United States are women-owned, employing nearly nine million people, and generating more than $1.7 trillion in revenue according to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.  

Accessing capital is a game changer for all small business owners. Fortunately, starting a new venture or growing an existing one without breaking the bank can be done with the help of the only federal agency dedicated to supporting small businesses — the U.S. Small Business Administration.

As the voice for the nation’s small businesses, the SBA is on the front lines providing entrepreneurs the support they need to start, grow, expand and recover after a disaster strikes. Of particular interest is that SBA-guaranteed loans are more likely to be funded to women than traditional small business loans. In fact, in FY 2017, SBA-backed lending to women increased by 25 percent year over year, putting almost $35 million more into the hands of women small business owners. Unfortunately, though, gaps still exist. The SBA’s updated online Lender Match tool is bridging that gap by connecting small business owners seeking funding to SBA-approved lenders.

[There are] reasons why women do not follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Yet, given the importance of small businesses to our national economy and the financial independence women acquire, they should.

Now more than ever, the SBA is proudly helping women entrepreneurs start the small businesses that create two out of every three of this country’s net new jobs. Knowing mentorship increases the likelihood of success, the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership powers more than 100 Women’s Business Centers that provide resources, business know-how and expertise.

The agency also remains committed to helping all small business owners secure federal government contracts via training and specific certifications that level the playing field for them. For several years, the U.S. government — the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services — has met its 5 percent statutory goal for contracts awarded to women-owned small business. The statutory goal is the floor, not the ceiling, and the SBA aims to increase the number of awards issued.

In every stage of business development — whether for advice on a business plan, funding or expansion with government contracts and exporting — women business owners can count on the SBA to be their advocate, ally and partner. We want women to know they don’t have to go through this process alone. The SBA is here to support them and, with better access to capital, help them to more effectively start up, grow and create jobs to power America’s economy.