Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has joined 18 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Senate appropriators demanding $18 million in funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women’s Business Centers (WBC) program.
Already greatly underfunded, the WBCs program would receive an even larger funding cut in the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget.
The Women’s Business Center program was first established in 1988 to provide specialized assistance to women starting a business, particularly in economically and socially disadvantaged communities. In fiscal year 2017 alone, the program served more than 148,000 women entrepreneurs around the country, helping them to get access to nearly $500 million in private capital, establish more than 17,000 new businesses, and create more than 23,000 new jobs.
“More and more women are starting their own small businesses. WBCs have assisted over 2 million women in this effort,” the senators wrote. “The latest data shows that there are more than 11 million women who now own firms in the United States, an increase of 45 percent since 2007 and 5 times the national average rate. Together, women-owned businesses have 9 million employees and generate $1.6 trillion in revenues.”
Wyden has been a strong supporter of funding for the WBCs program, and has continued to work to enhance business opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Oregon and nationwide. Wyden is a cosponsor of the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act, which would secure robust funding for WBCs.
Wyden was joined by the following senators in signing on to the letter: Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.