Alaska Is the Last State to Get a Women’s Business Center
With the launch of a Women’s Business Center in Anchorage, the nationwide network operated by the US Small Business Administration now has locations in all fifty states and Puerto Rico.
Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), calls the completion of the nationwide network “a milestone achievement” in the mission to reach more women entrepreneurs.
Women’s Business Centers (WBC) offer 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 WBC network 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.
“Having a Women’s Business Center in every state in the union and Puerto Rico demonstrates the commitment of Administrator Guzman to provide women entrepreneurs across the nation access to the resources and supports they need to grow and excel,” says Natalie Madeira Cofield, assistant administrator for the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. “As our first WBC to serve the state of Alaska for the agency in over a decade, we look forward to the accessibility and community this center will provide women as they navigate entrepreneurship.”
The SBA established the WBC program in 1988. The Anchorage WBC is the 141st in the program and is operated by the Seattle Economic Development Fund.
“Women are leading America’s entrepreneurial renaissance, and, under the Biden/Harris Administration, the SBA has delivered billions of dollars in financial assistance, expanded our services, and extended our reach to help more women entrepreneurs seize the opportunities of our nation’s growing recovery and realize their American dream of starting and growing a successful business,” says Guzman.
One of Guzman’s priorities for the SBA 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.
Since March 2021, SBA has opened twenty-four new WBCs, including three affiliated with historically Black colleges and universities and two in Puerto Rico.