Main Street Monday — Increased Optimism for Women-Owned Businesses

October 15, 2018

By Mary Miller
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday

Main street Monday — Increased Optimism for Women-Owned Businesses

Women entrepreneurs are celebrating National Women’s Small Business month this October with an increased optimism about the future of their small businesses.

“Every week it seems there is a new survey showing that small business owners are optimistic about their company, the economy, and their future. Almost 85 percent of the women surveyed said improvements in access to capital increased their optimism. I am confident that the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending process will be even stronger after the legislation I introduced, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, became law in June. The new law provides greater certainty for entrepreneurs as they work to obtain an SBA loan, while also strengthening oversight over the SBA’s most popular loan program,” says Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

During the past decade, women entrepreneurs have had more difficulties kicking off, much less expanding, a small business due in large part to securing the necessary capitol. Today, the future is brighter.

A new study recently released by Bank of America confirms this brighter future:

  • 58% of women entrepreneurs feel their revenues will increase within the next year (up 44% from last year)
  • Over 50% of women surveyed have plans to grow their businesses within the next 5 years
  • 21% of the women surveyed plan on hiring additional staff

The SBA is dedicated to assist small business owners start and expand their businesses by providing support and resources to accomplish these goals.

Some of the SBA resources available to give women entrepreneurs a helping hand include:

  • The Office of Women’s Business Ownership which offers business education, training, access to capitol and/or credit and marketing resources throughout its 68 SBA district offices.
  • The SBA’s Women’s Business Centers, which provide, among other things, coaching and training resources for women entrepreneurs. With 116 business centers located across the country, last year the centers supported over 150,000 women who went on to account for revenue to the tune of approximately $1.7 billion, plus 17,000 new jobs.
  • Access to federal government funding allocated to small businesses owned by women. The SBA assists women in the process of obtaining these funds for use in starting and growing their businesses. Last year, $20.8 billion in awarded through contracts via government funds were secured by women-owned small businesses.

Ask April Lukasik, a Connecticut-based mother unable to find a high-quality childcare in her community. By taking advantage of SBA resources, she went on to start her first Bright and Early Children’s Learning Center. In 2018, she has expanded her business to open four more childcare centers and was honored as Connecticut’s Small Business Person of the Year.

“Without the SBA, I absolutely would not have been able to build the business I have,” says Lukasik. “They were the only place I could find to lend me money with no experience and no real estate capital, and they took a chance on me. Twenty years later, I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the faith the SBA has had in me.”

The SBA Office of Advocacy reports that across the United States, women own over 11 million businesses and employ approximately 9 million workers.