SBA: $150,000 Announced to Fund Historic Women’s Business Center Expansion in Alaska

The New Funding Will Support the SBA’s First WBC in Alaska in a Decade. This WBC is the Latest in a Series of Historic Openings to Reach Underrepresented Communities

Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced the availability of $150,000 for a new grant opportunity for established and aspiring Women’s Business Center (WBC) host organizations to provide outcome-oriented business services for women entrepreneurs in Alaska. 

The new Alaska WBC, which will also be the first to serve the state of Alaska for the Agency in over a decade, will become the SBA’s 141st Women’s Small Business Center to offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing, and procurement. In conjunction with the SBA’s Alaska District Office, OWBO’s investment will diversify offerings for and deepen relationships with Alaska’s small business community.  

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA has continued to scale up to respond to extraordinary challenges, which has already led to strong economic gains including 6.4 million jobs added – the most in any year in U.S. history. Entrepreneurship continues to thrive as well and women, who are starting businesses among the highest rates, are leading the way. As women face historic barriers, I am committed to ensuring that they have the resources and support they need for success in creating the jobs, goods, and services for our economy,” said Administrator Guzman. “The addition of an Alaskan WBC means that the SBA will have a center in all 50 states and Puerto Rico for the first time. This advances equity and better positions the SBA to reach more women entrepreneurs where they are.”

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) has made increasing equity for women entrepreneurs a centerpiece of its work. With the new Alaska WBC, the Agency will continue to expand its outreach efforts to small business owners from diverse communities, such as rural-based and Native American and Indigenous-owned small businesses. Since March 2021 alone, 24 new centers have opened. Among the newest WBCs are three affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and two in Puerto Rico. Currently, OWBO funds and supports the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA, with 140 centers in 49 states and Puerto Rico.  

“We are excited to announce this funding opportunity which will ensure that women entrepreneurs in the state of Alaska receive the resources they deserve to start and scale. Today marks a historical moment for the women’s business center network by mapping the footprint of the WBC network across every state in the nation,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration.  

How to Apply 

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide grant dollars for one nonprofit organization to start a new, community-based WBC in Alaska. The successful applicant will receive a renewable grant award of $150,000 annually. 

Eligible applicants must be private, nonprofit organizations with 501(c) tax-exempt status from the U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service and must provide services to the population within the specified areas. 

The application acceptance period for this grant opportunity is open through Monday, March 14, 2022. Proposals responding to this program must be posted to www.grants.gov by Monday, March 14, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). No other methods of submission will be permitted. Proposals submitted after the stipulated deadline will be rejected without being evaluated. 

Interested applicants may direct any questions about the WBC funding opportunity to Donald Smith, SBA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at Donald.Smith@sba.gov. For issues with grants.gov, please visit www.grants.gov/web/grants/support, call the Grants.gov Support Line at 1-800-518-4726, or email support@grants.gov

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