The year 2022 marks an important milestone for women entrepreneurs in the United States. Fifty years ago in 1972, the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking women entrepreneurship. At that time, an estimated 400,000 U.S. businesses were owned by women. Over the past five decades, the number of businesses owned by women in the country has grown to 13 million. In Pennsylvania, over 300,000 businesses are owned by women, contributing to our Commonwealth’s diverse and robust economy.
Whether it’s to become certified as a small diverse business, apply for funding, find business mentors, or contract with government agencies, a variety of resources and programs are available to help women start businesses and accelerate their success:
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps women entrepreneurs launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace, as well as connect with training and funding opportunities. In Pennsylvania, SBA district offices are located in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to serve women business owners on a local level.
Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO)
The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership promotes women entrepreneurship, especially for women who have been historically under-served or excluded. The OWBO empowers women entrepreneurs through a number of programs coordinated through every SBA district office. OWBO’s programs provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities including federal contracts.
Woman’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women-owned businesses thrive. WBENC certification is the most widely recognized national certification for women-owned businesses in the United States.
Once certified, women-owned businesses gain access to: business opportunities targeted to women-owned firms; corporate and government supply chains; education and professional development programs; and networking and mentorship opportunities with thousands of women entrepreneurs and those who support them.
WBENC also is an approved third-party certifier for the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
Pennsylvania’s network of Small Business Development Centers is the only statewide, nationally-accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training, and information resources to new and existing businesses — including resources specifically for women-owned businesses.
The SBDC partners with SBA, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 15 universities and colleges across the state to provide budding entrepreneurs and small-business owners with tools they need to thrive.
PA Business One-Stop Shop
PA Business One-Stop Shop is a go-to-resource to register a business in Pennsylvania. Legal and tax considerations, as well as personal needs and the needs of your business, can help determine the business structure that will best suit your business.
There are four main types of business structures: sole proprietorships, partnerships (general or limited), limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. If you are unsure about which structure is best for your business, it is best to seek legal counsel and professional tax advice before filing your registration.
Get Connected Today
Contact Gift CPAs for more information on resources for women entrepreneurs as well as our full scope of accounting and business services.
We have years of experience working with small businesses to help with bookkeeping, taxes and other business needs. Make an appointment to meet virtually or at one of our five locations in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Myerstown, Ephrata or Lancaster!