September 15, 2022
(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senior Member, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committeeintroduced today with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) Women’s Business Center Improvement Act of 2022 — Legislation to reauthorize and improve the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Women in Business Center (WBC) program.
“Women business owners and entrepreneurs are at the heart of ingenuity and economic development across the Granite State. Ensuring women have access to resources, assistance and mentorship is key to leveling the playing field and empowering women in leadership,” Senator Shaheen said“I’m proud to help introduce this bill to support the Women in Business Center, which helps position women at the helm of the small business community.”
The Women’s Business Centers Program is a national network of more than 140 centers that provide entrepreneurs with advice, training, networking, seminars, technical assistance and mentoring. WBC supports entrepreneurs at all stages of the business development process, including assisting in writing business plans, conducting market research, navigating the federal procurement process, and other business management and operational skills. The program has played a key role in the SBA’s support for small businesses during the pandemic. In 2021, WBC served more than 88,000 clients, a 36% increase from the 64,000 clients served in 2019.
This Women’s Business Center Improvement Act of 2022 The SBA and WBC will be provided with the necessary tools to meet the demands of the historic boom in new business formation. Americans registered 5.4 million new businesses in 2021, the highest total on record and an increase of nearly 2 million from the 3.5 million new business filings in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
This Women’s Business Center Improvement Act of 2022 Federal support for WBC will be increased by doubling the maximum annual grant award to $300,000. The act also empowers SBA administrators to provide greater flexibility for smaller, less resourced WBCs. Under the act, SBA administrators can waive the one-year non-federal matching requirement in whole or in part based on an analysis of the grant recipient’s financial situation, the recipient’s demonstrated ability to raise non-federal funds, and past analysis. recipient’s performance. The act also defines the responsibilities of the WBC and requires the SBA to establish a WBC certification program. Additionally, the bill clarifies the responsibilities of the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership and codifies the office’s mission into the statute.
A senior member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and a former small business owner, Senator Shaheen is an active advocate for the New Hampshire small business community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaheen works for small business owners hardest hit by the public health crisis. She is dedicated to providing small businesses with the resources they need to withstand and recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, leading negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both of which are lifelines for businesses in New Hampshire and across the country.