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The importance of women entrepreneurs in economic recovery

Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator of the SBA, explains the importance of women entrepreneurs for economic reactivation.

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At the end of Women's History Month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) through its Assistant Administrator, Natalie Madeira Cofield, highlighted the importance of women entrepreneurs for the process of economic reactivation in the United States.

“We know that women-owned businesses are a key driver of this growth, especially businesses owned by minority women,” Madeira Cofield indicated to the publication Inc., while noting that 2021 presented a record number of 5.4 million new commercial applications.

According to the assistant administrator of the SBA, the pandemic has been particularly difficult for many women entrepreneurs. “With the pandemic, it has been especially difficult for many women entrepreneurs. In many ways, it has exacerbated pre-existing inequities in our economy, which caused women entrepreneurs to continue to trail men in business ownership. In 2019, 20 percent of all employer firms were women-owned businesses. Women business owners in all demographic groups continue to be underrepresented compared with male business owners,” Madeira Cofield highlighted.

Although economic inequality directly impacts women's quality of life, limiting their ability to compete and participate in the market, as well as restricting their access to resources and participation in economic decision-making at various corporate and government levels, according to data from the US Labor Office shared by Madeira Cofield, more than one million new employer companies were opened between March 2020 and March 2021.

Likewise, Madeira Cofield indicated:

The number of women who listed self-employed as their primary job increased by more than 200.000 from 2019 to 2020, according to a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. This shows that there has been an uptick in women entering the entrepreneur community.

“At the SBA, under the leadership of administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, we understand that women are and need to continue to be on the frontline of our recovery. Since President Biden has taken office, supporting women business owners has been a priority, as the SBA has provided billions in financial assistance to millions of women-led small businesses through the American Rescue Plan and other SBA programs,” noted Madeira Cofield.

SBA Programs

  1. Community Navigator: This pilot program, part of the American Rescue Plan, seeks to help keep women at the forefront by directing 27 of the 51 Navigator grants to women entrepreneurs. It has also allowed for changes to be made in the hiring process “to level the playing field and increase women business owners' access to federal contracting opportunities.”
  2. Women's Business Centers (WBC): The SBA finances and supports this network of business units, the largest in history, already adding more than 140 centers that operate in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

“In 2021, the SBA was proud to double the number of WBCs funded on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in an effort to support aspiring women of color, and soon we will be announcing several WBCs in minority-serving institutions,” Madeira Cofield stressed.

Seeking to help women entrepreneurs survive the effects of the pandemic, the SBA also participated in the historic funding of 14 resilience and recovery demonstration projects for $2.7 million. Likewise, they announced their Journey 6 project, which, through the Ascent digital platform, focuses on “educating women business owners about venturing into government contracting.”

Madeira Cofield concluded by noting: “The SBA looks forward to continuing our efforts to provide the support women business owners need to thrive and bring our assistance to women throughout our diverse communities all over America.”

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