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In celebration of Black History Month, SBA announces new funding to expand outreach centers for women entrepreneurs through Minority Serving Institutions


Tue, Feb 8th 2022 04:50 pm

$1.5M will be awarded to support expansion of agency’s WBCs across HBCUs & higher education institutions serving Hispanic, Tribal and AAPI communities

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced the availability of $1.5 million for 10 new grant opportunities for established Minority Serving Institutions aspiring to host a Women’s Business Center (WBC) to provide local outcome-oriented business services for women entrepreneurs.

A press release explained, “As Black History Month gets underway, the announcement highlights the agency’s commitment to creating funding opportunities that increase equity for small business owners – a priority under Administrator Guzman. Through the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s, the WBCs will help entrepreneurs pivot, grow and navigate new opportunities created through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, such as competing in the burgeoning industries solving climate change, and to grow clean-energy supply chains that will help expand global exporting.”

Guzman said, “Our efforts to help establish more Women’s Business Centers at Minority Serving Institutions across America will not only deliver on the Biden-Harris administration’s priority to invest in equity, but also will help more women entrepreneurs – one of the most energetic, innovative and fastest-growing segments of our small business economy – drive America’s strong recovery and ‘Build a Better America.’ ”

SBA Atlantic Regional Administrator Marlene Cintron oversees the federal agency’s operations in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She said, “Our Women’s Business Centers provide vital support, connecting women entrepreneurs with many of the SBA’s most valuable resources, including access to capital, professional networks, skills training for business growth and resilience, and much more. My hope is that leaders of every qualifying institution will seize this opportunity to establish a Women’s Business Center and start building bridges to opportunity for our nation’s women business owners.”

Cintron added, “As we continue to work with the business challenges that are the result of the COVID pandemic, we welcome the additional support provided by SBA resource partners to our women entrepreneurs and those of color across the Atlantic Region, by institutions we know and trust.”

Eligible applicants include the following institutions of higher education or their affiliates:

√ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) (as defined in 20 USC §1061)

√ Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) (as defined in 20 USC § 1101a)

√ Tribal Colleges and University (TCUs) (as defined in 20 USC 1059c)

√ Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (NHSIs) (as defined in 20 USC § 1059d(b))

√ Alaska Native Serving Institutions (ANSIs) (as defined in 20 USC § 1059d(b)) of higher learning with existing minority entrepreneurship or related programs

"Under the leadership of Administrator Guzman, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership continues to work to advance the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration. Our office looks forward to supporting initiatives to ensure that multicultural women and the academic institutions that support them across the nation have access to resources and support to advance entrepreneurial opportunities and preparation,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, assistant administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration. “This notable expansion builds on our historic expansion in 2021, where our center footprint grew to include 24 new centers, 60% of which were located in rural communities across the nation, including Puerto Rico.”

Since March 2021, 24 new centers have opened. Among the newest WBCs are three affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and two in Puerto Rico, as well several focused on reaching entrepreneurs from rural communities. Currently, Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s funds and supports the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA, with 140 centers in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

The purpose of the new funding will be for up to 10 private, nonprofit organizations to provide entrepreneurial development services to women, with an emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in locations that are outside of the geographical areas of existing WBCs.

The SBA’s WBC network provides one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing and procurement. To find other WBC locations and additional SBA resources, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.

How to Apply

Eligible applicants must be private, nonprofit organizations with 501(c) tax-exempt status from the U.S. Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service, and must or be affiliated with a Minority Serving Institution.

The application acceptance period for this grant opportunity is Wednesday, Feb. 2, through Monday, March 14. Proposals responding to this program must be submitted through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Monday, March 14. No other methods of submission will be permitted. Proposals submitted after the stipulated deadline will be rejected without being evaluated.

Interested applicants may direct any questions about the WBC funding opportunity to Donald Smith, SBA deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at [email protected]. For issues with grants.gov, visit www.grants.gov/web/grants/support, call the Grants.gov support line at 1-800-518-4726, or email [email protected].

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. Since it was established in response to an executive order in 1979, OWBO has provided training, counseling, technical assistance, access to credit and capital, as well as marketing opportunities to women. To learn more about SBA’s programs and services for women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/women. To find other WBC locations and SBA resources, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.

To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

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