If you are a woman business owner, it is important to know that you are considered one of the underserved, and thus the Small Business Administration has created business loans specifically for women! Learning about these loans, and determining your eligibility can help you get the financing you need to grow your business. In order to qualify for SBA loans, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a profitable business.
- You have to have been in business for at least two years.
- You have to have good personal and business credit records.
- You can not have declared bankruptcy in the past 10 years.
- You must be able to show that you are a woman-owned small business.
In addition to loans and financing specifically for women-owned small businesses (WOSB’s), there are approximately $27 billion in government contracts set-aside specifically for WOSBs and EDWOSBs. SBA has created the WOSB program to set aside certain federal contracts to be available solely to women-owned businesses in order to increase their federal contracting opportunities.
The WOSB program was put into place in February of 2011, and the goal is for WOSBs to be ready to compete for these contracts in the fourth quarter of the 2011 fiscal year. The Kauffman-RAND Institute for Entrepreneurship Public Policy estimates that the WOSB program could benefit approximately 684,000 companies.
In order to be eligible for this program, businesses must meet these two requirements:
1. Be a small business 51% owned by women (one or more) who are US citizens. The ownership must be direct and unconditional. Small is defined by the SBA size standards for the industry.
2. A woman must manage the day-to-day operations of the business and hold the highest officer position. They must work full time and during normal business hours.
If you determine you are eligible to participate, you will want to certify that you are so, by self-certify or a third-party certifier (SBA approved), then register your status in the CCR (Central Contractor Registration) and ORCA (Online Representations and Certifications Application). Once completed, WOSBs and EDWOSBs will compete with other WOSBs and EDWOSBs for these government contracts.