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Guest Editorial: Women's History Month celebrates women's contributions to the nation's economy

This year we observe the 37th anniversary of Women's History Month, which is a celebration of women's contributions to history, culture, society, and business. Women have been the driving force behind America's economic rebound from the pandemic, creating 50 percent of all new businesses since 2020. In 2023, women opened more than 1,200 new businesses each day including women of color who experienced some of the highest business growth rates in American history. This post pandemic boom has been fueled by policies that encourage new business growth and expansion. President Biden's Investing in America agenda reopened our nation's economy, brought back Made in America manufacturing, and restored America's global competitiveness

As a proud first generation Asian-American, whose mother owned and operated a small medical practice in Iowa, I learned from her experiences that running a successful business helps the community by providing needed services and good paying jobs. During Women's History Month, and throughout the year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides the training, capital, and contracts women need to benefit from the president's pro-business agenda.

The president's Small Business Boom has transformed the nation's economy and revitalized America's main streets in both urban and rural communities. More than 16.5 million new business applications were filed over the last three years – with a record 5.5 million filed in 2023 alone. Under President Biden, the United States has enjoyed the first, second, and third strongest years of business growth in history. Between 2019 to 2023, the growth rate of women-owned businesses outpaced their male counterparts by an incredible 94 percent with women now making up 39 percent of all businesses. What's even more transformative is that women are now disrupting traditionally male-dominated industries like construction, technology, and manufacturing.

Recent SBA data shows that women comprise 47.3 percent of workers and own 43.2 percent of businesses. More than 12 million women-owned businesses generated a record $1.5 trillion in revenue nationwide, with $387 billion coming from minority-owned businesses. The number of firms owned by women is increasing at a rate 1.5 times the national average and many of those businesses are started by people of color and veterans.

President Biden's Investing in America agenda has made access to capital a priority. In fiscal year 2023, the SBA backed more than 13,000 commercial loans worth $5 billion through its signature 504 and 7(a) loan guarantee programs to women entrepreneurs. After steadily declining between 2017 and 2020, the number of SBA backed loans to women is growing, with a 70 percent increase in lending since 2020. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman has made it one of her priorities to address systemic gaps in access to capital for the smallest, underserved businesses, especially businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, and those located in rural communities.

The SBA has built an extensive support network of resource partners that provide a wide range of services for women entrepreneurs. Our network of Women's Business Centers (WBC) provides training, coaching, and mentoring to entrepreneurs in local communities across the country. Over the years, WBCs have supported more than 150,000 women entrepreneurs which generated $1.7 billion in revenue and created 17,000 new jobs. In my region there are Women's Business Centers in Denver, CO; Laramie, WY; Salt Lake City/Cedar City, UT; Bismarck, ND; Sioux Falls/Spearfish, SD; and Bozeman/Missoula, MT.

Another source of assistance is the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSB Program) which helps provide a level playing field for women business owners competing for federal contracts. The federal government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the WOSB Program.

During Women's History Month, it is important to recognize the increasing role women play in our local, state, and national economies. For more information on SBA's programs and services please visit , and remember to follow us on Twitter @SBARockymtn.

(Aikta Marcoulier serves as the SBA's Region VIII Administrator in Denver. She oversees the agency's programs and services in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.)