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Women's Business Ownership Assistance

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Women's Business Ownership Assistance


Federal Agency




Small Business Act, 2(h) and 29, 15 U.S.C. 631(h) and 656 (as amended).






To fund private, nonprofit organizations to assist, through training and counseling, small business concerns owned and controlled by women, and to remove, in so far as possible, the discriminatory barriers that are encountered by women in accessing capital and promoting their businesses.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements or Contracts).


Uses and Use Restrictions

To establish women's business centers (WBCs) for the benefit of small business concerns owned and controlled by women. The services provided by the women's business centers must include financial, management, procurement and marketing assistance to start-up or established concerns, as well as mentoring and Internet services. Annual awards are issued through a 5-year term to successful applicants. Also, previously funded centers that have completed an award cycle may compete to receive additional funding through a 5-year term under the 4-year pilot program established under the Women's Business Center Sustainability Act of 1999 (and as extended by Congress for fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006).


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Private, nonprofit organizations having experience in effectively training and counseling business women. Public educational institutions and State and local governments are not eligible.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Women entrepreneurs starting their own business or expanding their existing business.




Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Applications are accepted in accordance with and up to the date specified in the annual program announcement as posted at and The applicant must complete the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Forms 424, 424A and 424B) and submit a written proposal addressing all of the selection criteria stated in the program announcement. The applicant must submit applications/proposals electronically through (free training on electronic filing is available on the site) by the application closing date.

Award Procedure

Proposals of eligible applicants are evaluated by a review panel. Candidates for sustainability awards also undergo a site review. The SBA/Office of Procurement and Grants Management issues an award to each approved applicant.


Applications/proposals must be submitted by the date indicated in the Program Announcement.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Within 120 days from filing deadline.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The recipient organization must obtain contributions from non-Federal sources to match the Federal award. Up to one-half of the non-Federal matching assistance may be in the form of in-kind contributions; the remainder must be in cash. The match requirement for recipients through the 5-year term are as follows: one non-Federal dollar for each two Federal dollars in the first and second years; and one non-Federal dollar for each Federal dollar in the third, fourth and fifth years. The match requirements for sustainability awards are: one non-Federal dollar for each Federal dollar each year through the 5-year term. The Administration may disburse up to 25 percent of each year's Federal share awarded to a recipient organization after notice of the award has been issued and before the non-Federal matching funds are obtained.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Initial and option year awards are issued annually, without recompetition, through the five-year grant term to compliant centers.


Post Assistance Requirements


The recipient must submit quarterly performance reports during the term of the project. These performance reports consist of two sections: data and narrative. The data section of the performance reports provides statistical information. The narrative section of the performance reports includes a comparison of actual accomplishments to the estimated milestones established for the reporting period, reasons milestones were not met, and a plan of action to address issues; and information relating to actual financial expenditures. All reports are electronically transmitted.


The recipient must have an outside accountant certify the conditions of the WBC's financial management system as part of SBA's final Programmatic and Financial Examination. Also, the award recipient must comply with audit requirements as prescribed in OMB Circular No. A-133, as applicable.


The awardee shall maintain and submit detailed, complete and accurate client activity records to reflect clearly the nature and variety of services provided. Financial records must be kept until three years after the completion and submission of the final report.


Financial Information

Account Identification



Grants: FY 07 $12,340,000; FY 08 $13,000,000; FY 09 $11,880,000. Administration: FY 07 $8,092,000; FY 08 $8,848,000; FY 09 $9,721,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

From $75,000 to $150,000.


Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, training and counseling will be offered at approximately 100 centers across the nation.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

OMB Circulars A-110, A-122, A-21, A-133.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Women's business ownership representatives in each SBA district office. See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a listing of the Small Business Administration district and regional offices.

Headquarters Office

Small Business Administration, Office of Women's Business Ownership, 409 Third Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20416. Telephone: (202) 205-6673. Use the same number for FTS. Contact: Sally Murrell.

Web Site Address


Related Programs

59.005, Internet-Based Technical Assistance.


Examples of Funded Projects

A typical project funded is the Women's Economic Self Sufficiency Team in Albuquerque, NM. The project provides in-depth and quality training and counseling to women entrepreneurs at numerous locations throughout New Mexico.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

As stated in each solicitation for proposals, but including: B. EVALUATION CRITERIA FOR WBC APPLICANT TECHNICAL PROPOSAL 1. List of Evaluation Criteria a. Applicant Experience and Internal Organizational Structure. (20 Points) b. Ability of Applicant to Reach a Representative Number of Women Who Are Both Socially and Economically Disadvantaged. (10 Points) c. Needs Assessment of Target Location. (10 Points) d. Services and Activities the Applicant Plans to Offer to Start-up and Existing Small Businesses Owned or Controlled by Women; and the Applicant's Ability to Assist Clients in Addressing Sustainability and Growth Issues. (30 Points) e. Plans for Coordination with SBA and other Community and Small Business Organizations. (10 Points) f. Financial Ability (20 Points) g. Geographic Location. (10 points).


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