October is National Women’s Small Business Month, time to celebrate, recognize and support female entrepreneurs. According to the American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses report, “the growth of women-owned businesses continues at a rapid pace. Four out of 10 business in the U.S. are now owned by women, and the total number of women-owned businesses (12.3 million!) has increased by 58 percent since 2007. In fact, in the last year, 1,821 new women-owned business opened each day.”
I dedicated my first book, The Sales Assassin, Master Your Black Belt In Sales, to my mother, Sandra Kanies-Caliendo. She has never allowed me to succumb to failure for she instilled in us undying fortitude. It was this fortitude that allowed her to become one of the top pharmaceutical sales people for Squibb during a time when it was more difficult for women to succeed in business. Her success in the male-dominated world was due to understanding the sacrifices she had to make in order to support the family and to succeed in her business life.
According to Carla Harris, Chair of the National Women’s Business Council, “it’s a time to acknowledge and applaud the talented, dedicated and driven women whose entrepreneurial spirit helps drive our nation’s economy forward. Women’s entrepreneurship has evolved from a growing trend to an inarguable contributor to the economic success, job growth and innovative backbone of this country.”
The SBA guarantees loans for small business owners who can’t get loans anywhere else and also connects entrepreneurs to counseling, mentorship and government contracting opportunities. The SBA has resources available for women:
- The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. It supports programs through each of the SBA’s 68 district offices, providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities.
- A network of 116 Women’s Business Centers, including nine new centers that opened this year, provides training, coaching and mentoring to entrepreneurs in communities around the country. These centers provide counseling and technical assistance, especially to women who are economically or socially disadvantaged. They offer comprehensive training on topics such as how to become a certified woman-owned small business, how to use social media as a marketing tool, and how to export products. And they are always developing new courses based on the needs of their communities. Last year, WBCs supported more than 150,000 women, resulting in tremendous revenue and job growth for the businesses they served — $1.7 billion in revenue and 17,000 new jobs.
- The government has a goal that 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars are awarded to women-owned small businesses. The SBA trains entrepreneurs on how to evaluate their readiness for government contracting, register as a government contractor, navigate the federal rules, and qualify for contracts through small business set-aside programs. In 2017, $20.8 billion in government contracts were awarded to women-owned small businesses.
Female Entrepreneurship by The Numbers
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12 Million Reasons to Celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month
2018 Women in Business Trends: Infographic by Guidant Financial
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