(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman attended a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday morning at Bowie State University (BSU) to celebrate the grand opening of its Women’s Business Center (WBC).
“Women’s Business Centers are key to supporting our entrepreneurial ecosystems, and they have enormous impacts on the lives of their clients, and in their greater communities,” said Cardin. “I am especially proud that this WBC at Bowie, the 4th WBC in the state of Maryland, is our 2nd located at an HBCU. Bowie State is a leader in entrepreneurial development, and they continue to be an essential resource in serving the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow. I applaud all the great work they do.”
The WBC program is a national network of more than 140 centers across all 50 states that offer counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to entrepreneurs. These centers support entrepreneurs at all stages of the business development process, including assistance with writing a business plan, conducting market research, navigating the federal procurement process, and other business management and operations skills. The WBC program played a key role in SBA support of small businesses during the pandemic and continues to serve thousands of clients. WBCs served more than 88,000 clients in 2021, a 36 percent increase from the 64,000 clients served in 2019.
Using an SBA grant awarded to Rockville Economic Development Inc, the BSU WBC opened unofficially in May 2022. The WBC joins BSU’s highly successful Bowie Business Innovation Center (Bowie BIC), an award-winning business accelerator program that helps contractors enrolled in SBA’s 8(a) program better secure federal contracts.
Supporting underserved entrepreneurs is a top priority for Senator Cardin. In September, he introduced the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act of 2022, legislation to reauthorize and improve the WBC program, including a provision to change the maximum grant award amount from $150,000 to $300,000.