30 Years Impacting Women And Going Strong

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

“Level the playing field for women in starting and operating their businesses.” This is the goal of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), established 30 years ago.

The recent Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) Leadership Conference underscored the importance of the work of WBCs, including Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC). Along with WBC leaders from across the U.S., Leslee Hill, WEOC Director, and I celebrated the 30th Anniversary of building impact through WBCs.

A message threaded throughout the conference. Tell your stories–the impact on the women you serve. Especially tell elected officials. They need to know.

About this time last year, a group of more than 1,000 women business owners and WBC leaders traveled to Capitol Hill for hundreds of meetings to discuss the importance of the U.S. WBC Program.

Although out of my comfort zone, I took our WEOC client stories to Capitol Hill to educate them about our impact in Northeast Indiana. At that time, WEOC had cumulatively trained and counseled 1,400 individuals and connected clients to $629,500 in capital.

At AWBC Conference, we learned that those stories still resonate with House and Senate representatives and their staffs in the offices and halls of Capitol Hill.

According to AWBC, “The WBC program is proposed to receive full funding at $18 million from Senate Appropriations and a record-setting $18.4 million in funding from House Appropriations. Full-funding of the WBC program demonstrates continued support of women entrepreneurs from legislators in Congress. The next step is for each bill to pass in the House and Senate. The House Appropriations Committee will debate the draft and the Senate will release its own version later this year.”

Women business builders in Northeast Indiana, thank you for allowing us to serve you. To you and fellow WBC leaders, let’s tell our stories.


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