WASHINGTON, DC – Women entrepreneurs make up a growing portion of our economy. In fact, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States increased five times over the last decade. Their presence is all the more evident in our backyard, as Texas is home to more than 890,000 women-owned businesses, the second most in the entire nation.
Our great state is also ranked first for the “economic clout” of women-owned businesses, which means that women-owned companies in Texas grow more quickly in volume, in employment and in revenues than those anywhere else. There is no question that Texas is a pretty great place to start a business.
At the same time, our female entrepreneurs overcome additional obstacles that their male counterparts don’t face, including accessing capital. For example, according to the National Women’s Business Council, men tend to start their businesses with nearly twice as much financial capital than women.
They have historically received loans with less favorable terms, and obtain less than five percent of both government funding for small businesses and all venture capital funding.
While we should work to expand access to capital for female entrepreneurs, we should also increase awareness of incubators, workshops and other ways for businesswomen to grow their companies. Since March is Women’s History Month, I’d like to spotlight a few resources available to ensure the growth and success of women-owned businesses, available here in the 23rd District of Texas.
A primary resource for all small businesses is the Small Business Administration (SBA) which works with lenders to provide loans for entrepreneurs to kick off operations. The SBA reduces risk for lenders and increases access for small business owners by setting guidelines for various lending partners such as community development organizations and micro-lending organizations.
The SBA also serves as a centralized hub for training, government bidding, and other small business resources, including those specific to women entrepreneurs. There are offices throughout Texas, including in San Antonio and El Paso.
Another great option for funding and counseling resources are business accelerators. One such option is Alice, which has resources across TX-23 and was founded to integrate more women into the startup ecosystem. Whether you’re starting a company, growing your business, or investing in other businesses, Alice supports the entrepreneurial community by connecting folks with networking opportunities and more.
In fact, my office recently helped Alice organize an event in San Antonio to connect entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources necessary to build their businesses.
This event was held at the Maestro Entrepreneur Center, which was created in partnership with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Hispanic Leadership Development Foundation to accelerate the development of small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses in the San Antonio area. The Maestro Center provides businesses with individualized growth plans and matches entrepreneurs with an experienced business owner mentor.
One more resource is the Southwest Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network which provides counseling services for all aspects of starting a business, from loan assistance and tax planning to marketing and sales. They have a strong presence across TX-23.
The SBDC at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) serves the greater San Antonio area, the SBDC at Sul Ross State University serves the Alpine community and the SBDC at Sul Ross State University – Rio Grande College has locations in Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Uvalde and Carrizo Springs. The SBDC at University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is available for folks in Socorro and across the El Paso area. You can find out more at txsbdc.org.
Think of a small business owner you know. Small businesses aren’t just products and services. Rather, they are real people with big dreams who work hard to grow their business and provide for their families each day. And, as women continue to make history, it’s important that we work together to ensure that their businesses can prosper.
As your Representative, it’s my job to make sure that Congress creates policies that foster innovation, entrepreneurship and job growth rather than stifle it. Our hardworking small business owners deserve nothing less.
A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.