By Regional Administrator Steve Bulger
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Small Business Administration salutes women entrepreneurs who have taken risks in pursuit of their passions and who view setbacks or challenges as just another step to achieve something greater. Our agency and regional office, as well as our district offices throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico
Nationally, women owned 12.3 million small businesses last year, or 40 percent of all ventures employing 500 or fewer individuals. According to American Express’ 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, which makes its projections based on data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, women are not only starting, on average, 1,821 new businesses a day, but that number is a significant uptick from the average of 952 between 2012 and 2017. In fact, the overall number of women-owned businesses surged 31 times since 1972.
Another interesting data point to consider is that women own a larger share of businesses in every minority group compared to their overall share of businesses nationally. Almost 60 percent of African American-owned businesses and 44 percent of Hispanic-owned businesses are women-owned.
Times have no doubt changed for the better; it’s a testament to the progress we have made in our economy and as a country. Today, there are many firms and resources committed to helping women founders start and rev their economic engines. The Atlantic Region of the SBA is privileged to have many of our nation’s women-owned small business success stories right here.
In New Jersey, for example, Angela Liu’s idea to offer healthy snacks for mass consumption became the fruit of her success. As founder and CEO of Crispy Green, Inc., Liu runs a small consumer goods business that produces healthy fruit snacks using freeze-dried technology. Liu took full advantage of the local resources that could help her get her small business started. She accessed SCORE mentoring to learn how to appropriately structure her business and prepare for challenges. Liu also obtained an SBA-backed $30,000 and a bank’s revolving line of credit. To this day, Angelia Liu credits the SBA assistance with “basically help[ing to] take Crispy Green from the start-up phase to a fully functional small business.”
The SBA also invests in ventures that teach today’s learners. The tri-state area has scores of women-owned businesses success stories and none more topical than Killer Snails, an educational STEM learning venture for school children launched by Dr. Mandë Holford, Dr. Lindsay Portnoy and Jessica Ochoa Hendrix. They worked with our Small Business Innovation Research program to fund their company, allowing technology development and ease in bringing it to market. Killer Snails is also minority- and woman-owned business certified enterprise, which has led to new opportunities as well.
Another great example is Kirsten DiCarlo’s venture in Western New York. DiCarlo opened FabUBus Mobile Spa and utilized services offered by of a great trifecta of SBA Resource partners out of our Buffalo district office: SCORE Buffalo-Niagara, the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College and Women’s Business Center at Canisius College. The personalized services DiCarlo received made a positive difference; SBA and its resource partners are credited by this entrepreneur in developing her business.
Puerto Rico is also now home to the Turtle Bay Inn, a top pick for eco-tourism travelers, adjacent to Lajas’ bioluminescent bay. This sustainable hotel was forged out of Zulma Rivera’s idea to build an environmentally-friendly lodge adjacent to one of the Island of Enchantment’s geographic wonders. Zulma received business counseling, 504 loan assistance and one-on-one business development sessions with the Small Business Development Center in San Juan to realize her dream.
While SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support, the SBA’s Atlantic Region district offices continue assisting them grow and expand. Working with our resource partners like the network of Women’s Business Centers, our SBA region is providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital and marketing opportunities thousands of women-owned businesses. In FY 2017, WBCs supported more than 150,000 women, resulting in tremendous revenue and job growth – $1.7 billion in revenue and 17,000 new jobs. There is no question that SBA continues to make a positive difference.
This Women’s History Month, please join the SBA in celebrating all the contributions women have made toward our shared history, culture, society and business community. Female entrepreneurs drive innovation and technology in addition to placing