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Op-Ed: SBA celebrates Women’s History Month by promoting female entrepreneurship

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Small Business Administration salutes women entrepreneurs who have taken risks in pursuit of their passions and who view setbacks or challenges as just another step to achieve something greater. 

Our agency and regional office, as well as our district offices throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are always here to lend a helping hand, and we do.

Nationally, women owned 12.3 million small businesses last year, or 40 percent of all ventures employing 500 or fewer individuals. According to American Express’ 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, which makes its projections based on data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, women are not only starting, on average, 1,821 new businesses a day, but that number is a significant uptick from the average of 952 between 2012 and 2017. 

In fact, the overall number of women-owned businesses surged 31 times since 1972.

Another interesting data point to consider is that women own a larger share of businesses in every minority group compared to their overall share of businesses nationally.  Almost 60 percent of African American-owned businesses and 44 percent of Hispanic-owned businesses are women-owned.

Times have no doubt changed for the better for women-owned small businesses; it’s a testament to the progress we have made in our economy and as a country. Today, there are many firms and resources committed to helping women founders start and rev their economic engines. 

The Atlantic Region of the SBA isvprivileged to have many of our nation’s women-owned small business successvstories right here.

In New Jersey, for example,vAngela Liu’s idea to offer healthy snacks for mass consumption became the fruitvof her success.  As founder and CEO ofvCrispy Green, Inc., Liu runs a small consumer goods business that producesvhealthy fruit snacks using freeze-dried technology.  Liu took full advantage of the localvresources that could help her get her small business started. 

She accessed SCORE mentoring to learn how to appropriately structure her business and prepare for challenges and obtained an SBA-backed $30,000 loan in addition to a revolving line of credit at a bank.  To this day, Angelia Liu credits this Small Business Administration assistance with “basically help[ing to] take Crispy Green from the start-up phase to a fully functional small business.”

To this day, Angelia Liu credits this Small Business Administration assistance with “basically help[ing to]take Crispy Green from the start-up phase to a fully functional small business.”

Puerto Rico is now home to the Turtle Bay Inn, a top pick for eco-tourism travelers, adjacent to Lajas’ bioluminescent bay.

This sustainable hotel was forged out of Zulma Rivera’s idea to build an environmentally friendly lodge adjacent to one of the Island of Enchantment’s geographic wonders. Zulma received business counseling, loan assistance and one-on-one business development sessions with the Small Business Development Center in San Juan to realize her dream.

The SBA also invests in ventures that teach today’s learners, who become tomorrow’s leaders. New York City also has scores of women-owned businesses success stories and none more topical than Killer Snails, a venture between Dr. Mandë Holford, Dr. Lindsay Portnoy and Jessica Ochoa Hendrix. 

They have brought science out of the classroom through award-winning educational games that get young students involved in STEM learning.  They worked with the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research program to fund their company; it allowed them to develop technology and get it to market.  Additionally, Killer Snails is also certified as a minority- and woman-owned business enterprise, which has led to new opportunities as well.

While the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support, the SBA’s Atlantic Region district offices have made tremendous progress across a large coverage area to help women-owned small business grow and expand. 

Moreover, working with our resource partners like the national network of Women’s Business Centers, our region and the SBA are providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital as well as marketing opportunities to scores of women-owned businesses. 

In FY 2017, WBCs supported more than 150,000 women, resulting in tremendous revenue and job growth for the businesses they served — $1.7 billion in revenue and 17,000 new jobs.  There is no question that the Small Business Administration continues to make a positive difference.

This Women’s History Month, please join the SBA in celebrating all the contributions women have made toward our shared history, culture, society and business community.  Female entrepreneurs drive innovation and technology in addition to placing small business on a global competitive playing field.  The job creation and positive impact on our nation’s economy make it very clear that women entrepreneurs are key to America’s success.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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