Women Sue Small Business Administration Over Missed Goals

Upon viewing the disturbing results of a recent U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce national survey of women business owners which found a remarkable 62 percent unable to access capital they need to be competitive -- despite their preparedness and available collateral --, the leaders of the USWCC decided to take dramatic action.

To significantly increase access to capital for the more than 10 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., the USWCC announced a groundbreaking partnership with Newtek Small Business Finance. This partnership transforms the marketplace by placing a strong emphasis on communication and education, and assuring women business owners they will receive the quality support and information they need when seeking capital for their businesses.

According to Inc. Magazine, in a lawsuit, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce alleges that the SBA has failed to comply with the Equity in Contracting for Women Act of 2000. That law pledges the government to raise the level of contracts it awards female contractors to 5%. As of now, only about 3% of federal contracts go to women, according to the National Women's Business Council.

"We are also launching an aggressive educational campaign to deliver information women business owners need to fund their businesses and be competitive in their markets," continued Dorfman. "We were alarmed by the results of the survey -- and by the personal stories of women business owners seeking to grow their businesses and compete. We know we can do better, and we're taking action."

"It's not surprising that women are having trouble accessing Small Business Administration loans," added USWCC president Terry Williams. "Even though between 1998 and 2003 the number of privately-held, majority women- owned business grew 23 percent and their revenues grew 46 percent, there was a 7.5 percent decrease in the average value of SBA-backed loans made to women- owned firms, and the percentage share of loans to women-owned firms grew only 1.1 percent. And, even though nearly one-third of all U.S. businesses are owned at least 51 percent by women, women-owned firms receive only 15 percent of SBA backed loans. We plan to do everything within our power to change these statistics and help women gain equal access to SBA-backed loans."

Barry Sloane, chairman and CEO of Newtek Business Services, Inc., said, "We welcome the opportunity to provide capital to women-owned businesses and members of the USWCC across the nation. We are pleased that the USWCC has taken capital acquisition for its members as one if its top goals in 2005. We believe our software, systems expertise and support for this great association will create significant business activity."

"This effort will deliver so much more for women-owned firms. For the first time women-owned firms will have easy access to a wide range of business funding expertise -- and true access to the capital they need to build and grow competitive businesses," Dorfman added.

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