SBA to Ease Key Loan Requirements for Women

SBA to Ease Key Loan Requirements for Women

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced a groundbreaking initiative to address under-capitalization, a challenge facing America’s underserved small business owners. Beginning July 1, lenders will no longer have to perform an analysis of cash flow or debt-service coverage on loans of $350,000 or less, thereby eliminating two burdensome requirements. Using the new SBA scoring tool, banks will be incentivized to underwrite more small-dollar loans, and reduce the time needed to originate a small-dollar loan by as much as 50%. This as a significant opportunity for women-owned small businesses to take advantage of the new streamlined and expedited process. Access to capital persist as a major hurdle for women entrepreneurs. The National Women’s Business Council’s Chair had this to say:

“The issues of access to start-up and expansion capital and the relative undercapitalization of women owned businesses at inception remain the toughest obstacles for women entrepreneurs. In the National Women’s Business Council’s FY2013 annual report, we articulated the need for a new streamlined approach to accessing capital, particularly SBA backed loans,” said NWBC Chair Carla Harris.   “The SBA’s new loan requirements is a step in the right direction for America’s underserved small business owners, particularly women entrepreneurs who rely heavily on personal savings to start their businesses. We enthusiastically support SBA’s improved loan processes and credit scoring approach. This new approach will broaden the pathway for women entrepreneurs to access more small-dollar loans of $350,000 or less, and ultimately gives women a greater opportunity to access the capital they need to start and grow their businesses.”

The Economic Impact of Women-owned Small Businesses

It’s important to acknowledge the significant economic impact women entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth. As it stands, women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing population in the small business community, with more than 8.9 million women-owned businesses in the US, employing 7.8 million people nationwide.

The numbers indicate women are making significant strides in contributing to job growth and the creation of new businesses. A new study from American Express OPEN says women are starting businesses at an astonishing rate of 1,288 new businesses a day. Women entrepreneurs’ economic impact is significant and growing. Women play a vital role in impacting the national economy and are making great strides as the number and economic contributions of women-owned businesses continues to grow. Recent studies show that the majority of women are optimistic about the economic outlook of their business. In fact, a resounding89%of women surveyed are optimistic about their overall business performance, which leads us to believe women are in full stride towards economic stability.

Despite the difficult economic climate during the recent 2007–2010 recession, women-owned businesses not only survived the recession but thrived by outperforming their peers. Throughout the recession, women-owned businesses were active in the largest industries and had a greater percentage of firms making more than $1M in revenue in several industries, including retail trade, wholesale trade, manufacturing, and construction. Women-owned businesses also lost a smaller share of jobs than their male counterparts. Fast forward to 2014, the small business sector has led the way out of the recent recession and the current uptick in today’s rapidly growing start-up culture is proof that our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit has been reignited. Women entrepreneurs clearly have economic staying power, but in order to continue to advance, the economic impact of women entrepreneurs is a topic that cannot afford to go under the radar.

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