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Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
59.043 Women's Business Ownership Assistance




Small Business Act, Section 29, 15 U.S.C. 631(h) and 656; Women's Business Center Sustainability Act of 1999; Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988.
OBJECTIVES: Click here for help!
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.


Project Grants.
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To establish women's business centers (WBC) for the benefit of small business concerns owned and controlled by women. The services and assistance provided by the women's business centers must include financial, management, procurement and marketing to start-up or established on-going concerns. 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. Women's Business Center awards are not individuals for starting or expanding a business.


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.

Credentials/Documentation:   None.

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Pre-application 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. 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 by the application closing date to the SBA Office of Procurement and Grants Management, 5th Floor, 409 3rd Street, SW., Washington DC 20416.

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.

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

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   Within 120 days from filing deadline.

Appeals:   Not applicable.

Renewals:   Annual option awards are issued to successful award recipients through a 5-year term without re-competition.


Formula and Matching Requirements:   Of the appropriation made available to the WBC program, administrative costs ranges from 1.6 to 2 percent from fiscal years 2000 through 2003. During that period, the following percentages must be reserved for sustainability awards: (1) for Federal fiscal year 2000, 17%; (2) for fiscal year 2001, 18.8%; (3) for fiscal year 2002, 30.2%; (4) for fiscal year 2003, 30.2%. Remaining program funds must be issued to annually award recipients of new and continuing projects. The recipient organization must obtain cash contributions from nonfederal sources to match the Federal award. Up to one-half of the nonfederal matching assistance may be in the form of in-kind contributions. The match requirement for recipients through the 5-year term is as follows: one nonfederal dollar for each two Federal dollars in the first and second years; and one nonfederal dollar for each Federal dollar in the third, fourth and fifth years. The match requirement for sustainability awards is One nonfederal 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 nonfederal sector matching funds are obtained.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   The annual performance period begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following calendar year. Successful projects may be funded through a 5-year term without re-competition.


Reports:   Quarterly performance and financial reports are due in October, January, April and July of each 12-month performance period. Each project report must include statistical data. Two reports, January and July, must include a narrative description of project activities. The Administrator prepares an annual report to the Committees on Small Business of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the effectiveness of all projects. Performance report must provide WBC client information concerning: (1) The number of individuals assisted; (2) the number of hours of counseling and training provided and workshops conducted; (3) the number of startup business concerns formed; (4) any available gross receipts of assisted concerns; (5) increases or decreases in profits of assisted concerns; and (6) the employment increases or decreases of assisted concerns.

Audits:   The SBA will conduct an annual programmatic and financial examination of each Women's Business Center. Also, the award recipient must follow audit requirements as prescribed in OMB Circular No. A-133, as applicable.

Records:   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 3 years after the completion and submission of the final report.


Account Identification:   73-0100-0-1-376.

Obligations:   (Cooperative Agreements) FY 01 $9,000,000; FY 02 est $12,000,000; and FY 03 est $12,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:  
Additional information available at

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In fiscal year 2001, training and counseling was offered at 71 centers across the nation. In addition to regular services, centers provided mentoring and internet services. All centers provide content and maintenance services to the Online Women's Business Center on the Internet,


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


Regional or Local Office:  
See Regional Agency Offices. Women's business ownership representatives in each SBA district office. See Appendix IV of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under Small Business Administration.

Headquarters Office:  
Bruce Purdy 409 3rd St., SW 6th Floor, Washington, District of Columbia 20416 Email: Phone: 202-205-7532

Web Site Address:


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 in Las Cruces and Farmington, NM.


As stated in each solicitation for proposals, but including: (1) Applicant's experience in conducting programs or ongoing efforts designed to impart or upgrade the business skills of women business owners or potential owners; (2) present ability of applicant to commence a project within a minimum amount of time; (3) ability of applicant to provide business development, management and technical assistance training and services to a representative number of women who are both socially and economically disadvantaged; (4) location for the women's business center site proposed by the applicant; (5) services and activities to be offered to small businesses owned or controlled by women or women entrepreneurs and other clients; (6) internal organization, structure, and activities of applicant; (7) plans for coordination with SBA and other community and small business organizations; (8) plans for raising matching funds and other financial plans; and (9) States and territories without a WBC.

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