This Women’s History Month, California Small Business Group Calls on Congress to Reauthorize Women’s Business Center Program

 
03/12/2022

During Women’s History Month, CAMEO, California’s statewide micro-business network and leading voice for businesses with one to five employees, is calling on Congress to pass the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act of 2022, which would reauthorize and expand the Women’s Business Center program

San Francisco, Feb.28, 2022 In commemoration of Women’s History Month, CAMEO, California’s statewide micro-business network and leading voice for businesses with one to five employees, is urging Congress to pass the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act (H.R. 6441), which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.). The legislation would reauthorize the Women’s Business Center program, increase the program’s funding authorization level from $18 million annually to $31.5 million, and increase the cap on grants to individual centers.

First established in 1988, the Women’s Business Center program supports a national network of entrepreneurship centers providing free and low-cost counseling and training to more than 150,000 women entrepreneurs per year. Approximately 21% of small businesses in the United States are majority women-owned and this bill would help support the expansion of women-owned businesses in California and across the nation. Research shows women and especially women of color are leading a pandemic-era small business boom – with new business applications up 30% compared to before the pandemic.  To overcome systemic barriers to success, these entrepreneurs need the resources that Women’s Business Centers provide.

“Passing this legislation would be a big step in creating a more equitable small business environment for women entrepreneurs — especially for those that come from underserved communities and traditionally don’t have ready access to the knowledge, financial tools and business networks they need to advance their businesses,” says CAMEO CEO Carolina Martinez. “Reauthorizing and strengthening WBCs will also make way for a more equitable economic recovery from the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”

CAMEO also supports increased funding for federal programs like the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), which provide counseling and training to small businesses, as well as SCORE — the largest network of volunteer business mentors and resource partner of the Small Business Administration. These programs are instrumental in providing entrepreneurs with the accessible resources they need to start and expand their businesses.

To request an interview with CAMEO CEO Carolina Martinez (fluent in English and Spanish) or California small business owners, contact Conan Knoll at (831) 524-6764 or conan@emccommunications.com.

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About CAMEO

CAMEO is California’s statewide micro-business network made up of over 300 organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering Micro-Business development in California with small and micro-business financing such as loans and credit, technical assistance and business management training. Annually, CAMEO members serve about 84,000 very small businesses with training, business and credit assistance and loans. These firms – largely start-ups with less than six employees – support or create 101,000 new jobs in California and generate a total of $7.5 billion in economic activity.



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