Creating options for women operating businesses is powerfully linked with access to capital—a reality that no doubt affects all types of businesses, regardless of the demographics involved. Women-owned businesses continue to face situations where access to funding is limited.
This summer, U.S. Senator & Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Maria Cantwell initiated legislation to increase the availability of Small Business Administration loans for women in pursuit of funding their business. Of the total amount of small business loans issued, only 4% currently go to women. Likewise, merely 13% of total SBA loan values in 2013 went to women.
Efforts dating back to 1994 to boost access for women business owners to federal contract dollars through the implementation of a 5% goal—a goal that’s not yet been realized since its creation 26 years ago—remain ongoing. Well intentioned legislation that’s appeared over the past couple of decades in support of women in business has lagged in its ability to close the lending gender gap, which no doubt interferes with the ability of women to create jobs and build economy strengthening businesses.
The report illustrates what’s on the agenda of many women business owners seeking greater access to funding opportunities for the betterment of their businesses, and this no doubt involves women franchise business operators. The report seeks to strengthen the nationwide influence of existing programs rather than introduce new ones, to create a greater degree of clarity so that existing programs may be simpler to implement and acknowledge at all levels of execution. The state of Washington is also a primary focus of the report, as its overall performance in terms of the lending disparity for women business owners is beneath that of the nation as a whole.
Increased funding support for Women’s Business Centers across all 50 states is also proposed. As educational hubs for would-be women business operators, these centers are an excellent resource in need of additional reinforcement and authorization to better sustain the efforts of female entrepreneurs. Representing 30% of all companies, it’s no wonder that the lending situation for women run businesses is in need of an overhaul to better represent their unique situation in the lending scene as well as their enormous contribution to the economy.
The report is viewable in detail here with numerous key statistics highlighting the lending situation that women currently face.