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Metro Creative Connection

SBA Buffalo celebrates Women's History Month


Fri, Mar 5th 2021 11:35 am

Elevate your business with SBA resources, funding, available training

Submitted by the U.S. Small Business Administration Buffalo District

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Buffalo District Director Franklin J. Sciortino likes to say women are playing a central role in successfully building, growing and pivoting their businesses. 

“There are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in America,” he said. And prior to the pandemic, over 1,800 women-owned businesses were created each day. As SBA commemorates Women’s History Month, I like to think SBA is doing its part to continue to fuel this powerful force in our economy by providing resources, funding and training.”

Sciortino likes to point to local women success stories like Mary Lee Fornes, a U.S. Army first lieutenant who founded the Boston Valley Animal Hospital in late 2008. Fornes, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, enlisted as a PFC in 1989. Fornes did military training in the summers while attending veterinary school. After graduating from Cornell Veterinary School in 1993, she then commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Vet Corps. After returning home, Fornes decided to open her own practice.

“As a new business owner, I had to take a lot of time to learn about the business side of running a business,” Fornes said. “The assistance I received from SBA resource partner, the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College, allowed me to pull together a solid business plan and obtain an SBA-backed loan through M&T bank. The process was seamless and stress free.”

Another example of a local woman who possesses the entrepreneurial spirit is Jessica Malloy whose path to success began through her fondness for art and education. The women-owned business owner was attending a painting entertainment event with friends in the summer of 2014, when she realized “I can do that!”

Malloy sought the assistance from the SBA’s Small Business Development Center at Niagara County Community College and received extensive counseling that resulted in the opening of Paint with Personality, a home-based art and entertainment business. Today, Malloy is moving to a new location in Newfane, and has renamed her business “Imagine that Studio and Gifts.”

“These are stories of everyday women-owned businesses with a passion for what they do,” Sciortino said. “Their stories are an inspiration to us all and demonstrate how SBA resources, funding and training are working to help businesses grow, recover and adapt in this time of adversity.”

The work that we are doing is helping businesses recover and adapt in this time of adversity, demonstrating our spirit of resiliency. Millions of bold and fearless disrupt-hers have succeeded not only as entrepreneurs but also in the workplace, all the while remaining the backbone of our families, communities and country. They are, without a doubt helping to power America's economic recovery. 

In addition to providing women business owners with access to funding, Western New York women-owned businesses can receive free to low-cost counseling and training from the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College. The WBC focus’ on women who want to start, grow, expand or recover their businesses.

Women entrepreneurs can also take their businesses to the next level with Ascent, SBA’s new online learning platform. SBA's Ascent learning platform has free online training courses that help provide the skills women need to recover from the pandemic and other disasters.

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