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By Dawn Kraus


The Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/onlinewbc/index.html is a department of the United States Small Business Administration. Their mission is to assist women in achieving their dreams while at the same time improving the community. This end is facilitated by supporting women who want to start and run successful businesses, regardless of any financial or social disadvantage, race, ethnicity or business background. The OWBO is one of the integral components of the Entrepreneurial Development’s counseling and training services. The US Small Business Administration is committed to providing services to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. Through programs that address business training and technical assistance as well as by providing access to credit and capital, federal contracts and international trade opportunities, the OWBO promotes the growth of women-owned businesses. With a women’s business ownership representative in every SBA district office as well as mentoring roundtables in a nationwide network, the OWBO offers support and gives advice to all women-owned businesses. Through the women’s business centers, women-owned venture capital companies and an OnLine Women’s Business Center, an unprecedented number of women are being helped, counseled, taught, and encouraged as they start and build sustainable and successful businesses.

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), http://www.wbenc.org/Default.aspx, was founded in 1997 and is one of the leading advocates of women-owned business as suppliers to America’s corporations in the nation. Its purpose is to foster diversity in the world of commerce by providing programs and policies that are specifically designed to expand opportunities and remove barriers in the marketplace for women-owned business. The WBENC does this by working with representatives of corporations and encouraging the utilization and expansion of supplier/vendor diversity programs. The organization also provides access to a range of B2B sourcing tools to its corporate members and certified women’s business enterprises. One of these tools is an Internet database – WBENCLink – that contains information on certified women’s businesses for purchasing managers nationwide. The WBENC provides on-site training and educational materials detailing certification procedures and program management to its partner organizations, thus helping it reach its aim of advancing certified women’s business enterprises, government agencies and corporate members.

With organizations actively working to help promote women-owned businesses, these resources have become invaluable aids to the business world. Organizations that are helping to start or sustain businesses while also providing the tools for greater success are essential for the welfare of many women-owned businesses. Although today’s economic climate is difficult, with the help of these organizations, women-owned businesses can not only survive but succeed.

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