L.A.-Based Program Will Benefit Black Women Business Owners

In an effort that will benefit black women business owners, the Small Business Majority is launching its Women Entrepreneurship Program in Los Angeles to help female proprietors flourish.

The national advocacy group claims the new program is vital because women are starting businesses in California briskly, but the resources women business owners need to succeed have not kept up with demand.

Women, especially women of color, are among the fastest-growing segments of the nation’s economy. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of U.S. women-owned businesses rose 45%. Still, women account for only 16% of conventional small business loans and 17% of Small Business Administration loans.

And women don’t just receive fewer loans, they also get smaller loan amounts: Women approved for loans only receive 4.4% of the total dollars of conventional loans made, the Small Business Majority reported in a press release.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program will help local women entrepreneurs gain the resources they need to start and grow their companies. The Small Business Majority plans to offer in-person and online resources for women through educational events in the area. Its goals include connecting women in the Los Angeles area with local lenders, business resource providers, and mentoring opportunities.

Act-1, the staffing solutions firm launched by Janice Bryant Howroyd, is a classic example of how black-owned women firms in the Los Angeles area have thrived over the years, The company operates in some 19 countries, serves more than 17,000 clients, and has over 2,800 employees. The Torrance, California-based business is No. 2 on the 2017 Top 100s list with annual revenue of $2.8 billion.

In a news release, Xiomara Peña, Small Business Majority’s California Deputy Director and National Hispanic Outreach Manager, says, “California is at the forefront of women’s entrepreneurial activity in the United States.”

“In fact, a recent survey found 37.2% of California’s small firms are owned by women, with 129 new women-owned firms established every day. Unfortunately, the local infrastructure hasn’t yet caught up with business growth as women entrepreneurs struggle to get the technical assistance and capital they need. Small Business Majority is working to remedy this problem in the hope that California can serve as a blueprint for women-owned small business success in this country.”

The Small Business Majority is piloting the program in Los Angeles but the advocacy group says the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program will eventually expand to offer resources for women business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs nationally.