Understanding SBA Loans for Women

There are no SBA loans available specifically for women. Many people are confused by the fact the SBA promises assistance to women seeking loans; they think this means there are loans designated solely for female-owned businesses. Women use the same loans men use in order to secure SBA financing. However, the Office of Women's Business Ownership (OWBO) in the SBA does help women with unique challenges that arise when seeking these funds.

Training and Counseling

The primary resource available to women through the SBA is training and counseling. A network of professionals is available to answer questions a woman business owner may have about how to secure loans, how to seek government contracts and even how to manage the financial aspects of running a business. Often, specific loans and grants are available only if a woman agrees to attend or has attended this type of training. The training can help a woman business owner learn to manage the debt incurred with an SBA loan as a part of the business's total financial report. Training will also help connect women with other members of the community and other woman business owners, providing a network of support.

Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Women

Socially disadvantaged women may receive unique opportunities through the SBA. While the SBA does not restrict any of its loans to socially disadvantaged, minority or woman owners, the organization does have a high priority to bring diversity to the small business arena. The SBA aims to encourage diversity in not just the employees of a business but also at the ownership level. To do this, the SBA recognizes socially disadvantaged persons may be lacking the same financial base as other business owners. Certain loan requirements, like down payments or required collateral, may be reduced to make the loans available to these persons despite financial challenges.

Grant Applications

Women will find many grant applications available online through the SBA's Women's Business Center. Though these are the same loans and grants offered to men seeking SBA financing, only women can use the Women's Business Center as a resource for questions. This provides a unique advantage with grants in particular. Grant writing has as much to do with securing a grant as does any other part of the application process. The Women's Business Center can teach a business owner the best way to write a grant, the best time to submit a grant application and other unique tips. 

Women's Business Center Resources

If you would like personal assistance in accessing the benefits of the SBA, you can go to a local Women's Business Center. There are centers in every state. These centers can help not only with federal grants and loans but also in accessing a local grant opportunity. Additionally, there are mentorship programs at the centers for women looking to connect with other female business owners.

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