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Landmark Women’s Business Center Legislation Passes Senate Committee

Tuesday, October 13, 2015  
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Landmark Women’s Business Center Legislation Passes Senate Committee


The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship unanimously approved the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015, which reauthorizes the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program. We are grateful to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for sponsoring this landmark legislation.  WIPP thanks all Senators on the Committee for passing this bill on a bipartisan, unanimous vote.


Women entrepreneurs receive business training and counseling from more than 100 WBCs throughout the country. Because of this bill, the WBC program will now be authorized $21.75M through FY2020, adding more Centers and providing additional support to existing Centers. WBCs can now receive grants up to $250,000, nearly double the previous maximum of $150,000.  Funds above the $250,000 level will be made available to Centers that meet goals and wish to establish new projects. These updated funding levels will encourage growth in established Centers and allow WBCs to provide additional support to women entrepreneurs.


The Act also requires important updates to the WBC program. The Act removes auditing and reporting requirements for non-federal funds that Centers raise above their required match. To streamline program rules and improve the granting process, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will collaborate with stakeholders to develop and implement solutions.


Women’s Business Centers provide an invaluable resource for women entrepreneurs. Ten million women-owned businesses contribute to the nation’s economy by generating $1.6 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 9 million Americans. WBCs are an important partner for these 10 million women-owned businesses and this legislation will enhance their capabilities and build on their successes.




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