Are you a woman business owner looking to grow your business? Perhaps you’re a woman who wants to start a business or is in the planning stages. Whatever your stage of entrepreneurship, if you’re a woman, Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) can help you.
Women’s Business Centers are a national network of nearly 100 educational centers throughout the United States and its territories. There’s a location in almost every state; you can find a full list of women’s business centers here.
Established in 1988 and overseen by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), Women’s Business Centers are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. The centers’ goal is to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs and help them overcome the unique obstacles that many women still face in the business world. Another goal is to provide all types of women, especially those who are economically or socially disadvantaged, equal access to comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of business topics, in a wide variety of languages.
While each Women’s Business Center tailors its services to the needs of its individual community, here are some of the services you can obtain at your nearest WBC:
- Training and counseling: Women business owners can receive training in finance, management, marketing and all aspects of starting and growing a business.
- Financial advice: WBCs provide access to all of the SBA’s financial assistance programs, including SBA-guaranteed loan programs that can help you access the credit and capital your business needs.
- Procurement assistance: If you’re interested in contracting opportunities with the government or the private sector, a WBC can help you by connecting you with online and in-person training in procurement. You can also attend matchmaking events where you can meet buyers from corporations and government offices. WBCs can also help you navigate the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program.
According to the SBA, women-owned businesses that receive assistance from Women’s Business Centers boast significantly better survival rates than businesses that don’t receive similar support. What are you waiting for? Check out what the WBC program can do for your small business.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.