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Press Releases



Temren Wroge

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) remains focused on carrying out its critical mission of advocating for the nation’s 13 million women-owned businesses. The Council recognizes the ongoing commitment of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in ensuring women business owners have access to opportunities to start and grow their business, and in times of crisis, to keep their business afloat. Smaller, community lenders have undoubtedly been at the forefront of providing business owners with the capital they need to keep their employees on payroll and sustain overhead costs.

For that reason, NWBC recently hosted a webinar titled ‘Community Lending Key to Main Street Recovery: Resources and Lessons Learned for Female Founders.’ The webinar included guest speakers Jill Castilla, President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma and NWBC Council Member Jessica Flynn, Founder & CEO of Red Sky, a strategic communications firm in Boise, Idaho.

Jessica shared her experience successfully applying for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) through a community bank in Idaho. As a result, she was able to continue operations and keep her 10 employees on payroll during the pandemic.  

Jill shared how she is leading the way in community lending, processing 450 PPP loans that supported local small businesses. Her commitment to breaking down barriers for women and minority small business owners has improved their ability to access capital and provided a model for other community lenders around the country.

“Saving small businesses and the jobs they support is my top priority as SBA Administrator. In the seven weeks after launching the PPP, we’ve rolled out over half a trillion in forgivable loans to more than 4.4 million small businesses and nonprofits,” said Administrator Jovita Carranza. “I remain committed to helping every small business owner – especially our minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and other entrepreneurs serving disadvantaged communities – not just survive this difficult time, but make it out the other side stronger and ready to expand.”

 “Women-owned businesses are truly the engine driving our national economy and small banks and community lenders are the lifelines they need to stay afloat during this pandemic,” said NWBC Chair Liz Sara. “We are encouraged that the SBA has prioritized smaller lenders in its implementation of the second round of CARES Act funding and look forward to working with them to continue to broaden the pool of capital access options for women.”

“Community banks are outperforming all other financial institutions in helping women-owned and minority-owned small businesses access resources to keep their doors open and be prepared for the return of the American economy,” said Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. “It is critical for our institutions to reach out to underserved communities and to stand in the gap as accessible and knowledge partners in pursuing these critical SBA resources.”

NWBC and SBA remain committed to working together to ensure that women-owned businesses continue to have increased opportunities to access capital, particularly as they navigate this pandemic. Keeping women-owned enterprises open for business is our shared priority.

About SBA: Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

About NWBC: The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), is an independent, non-partisan federal advisory committee established to provide advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the Administrator of the SBA.

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