Women’s Business Center Opens in Anchorage
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) cut the ribbon on the Alaska Women’s Business Center (AWBC) in Anchorage, extending the network to all fifty states and Puerto Rico.
The center is an office hosted by Seattle-based financial development nonprofit Business Impact NW in a downtown co-work space.
“We see the positive impact of supporting woman-owned small businesses in our communities,” says Susan Perreault, vice president of programs for Business Impact NW. “Women own 43.2 percent of businesses in Alaska. The Alaska Women’s Business Center seeks to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs.”
The AWBC offers one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to entrepreneurs on business development topics ranging from startup and financial management to marketing and procurement. In addition, the center helps entrepreneurs pivot, grow, and navigate new opportunities through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, such as contracting, competing in industries, solving climate change, and helping to expand global exporting.
The Anchorage center is led by Lisa Noland. “After living and working in Alaska for nearly twenty-eight years, including owning and managing two businesses, I am thrilled about the services offered through the Alaska Women’s Business Center,” the director says.
The SBA established the women’s business center program in 1988. The Anchorage center is the first in Alaska and the 145th in the program.
“SBA is committed to ensuring that women in every state, including the beautiful state of Alaska, are able to access the resources needed to start, grow, and sustain their businesses,” says Donald Smith, acting assistant administrator of SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. “SBA couldn’t have asked for a better partner to implement the Alaska Women’s Business Center than Business Impact Northwest. We look forward to supporting their work to help strengthen the small business ecosystem, creating opportunities for women in business.”
One of the SBA’s priorities is to create funding opportunities that increase equity for small business owners. Thus, the Anchorage office is part of SBA’s outreach efforts to Native-owned small businesses as well.
The AWBC is co-located with SBA’s Veterans Business Outreach Center, also operated by Business Impact NW. The nonprofit is also Alaska’s first SBA microlender, which offers financing from $5,000 to $50,000 from the same co-work office.