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Temren Wroge

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2020 – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a Women’s Business Center (WBC) grant opportunity in the Los Angeles area. This comes as part of an SBA priority to open more doors for women entrepreneurs and increase access to SBA resources in underserved communities.

Earlier this month, SBA also announced a WBC grant opportunity in the state of Maryland. NWBC Council Member Shelonda Stokes attended the roundtable to discuss the upcoming funding opportunity in Baltimore, MD.

“The National Women’s Business Council is encouraged that SBA has chosen Morgan State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and my alma mater, as the venue to announce a funding opportunity for a new WBC,” said Shelonda Stokes. “Underserved communities and rural areas are lacking in adequate resources for women business owners and entrepreneurs to start and grow their enterprise. It is important that the SBA is working to find ways to connect women to the resources that programs like Women’s Business Centers offer.”

NWBC expressed the following WBC-related recommendations in its 2019 Annual Report:

WBC Grant Allocation

  • SBA should consult with the AWBC when announcing a new WBC funding opportunity and conduct a national market scan to determine sustainable grant opportunities.
  • SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership should allocate any supplementary grant money to high performing WBCs for the specific purpose of providing accessible, offsite trainings in underserved rural communities.
  • The Council recommends that SBA avoid the overcrowding of agency resources in certain urban areas and give first priority for WBC grants to rural communities identified in the market scan. According to the most recent data available, Mississippi and West Virginia are among the top 10 most rural states and do not have WBC grants. These states should have first consideration.

WBC Economic Impact Data

  • Congressionally mandated economic impact data should also include —the average duration of assistance to clients, regions in which the new concerns are located, and whether the women served plan to continue to operate and invest in that specific community.
  • The measure of a WBC’s reach (the number of women served) should be scaled relative to the capabilities, circumstances, and population in that region.
  • SBA should be required to share available WBC data with AWBC and the public.
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