WASHINGTON – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today asked the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration to conduct a thorough investigation into the agency's onerous grant disbursal process to Women's Business Centers (WBCs) nationwide.

"I want to know why Women's Business Centers are receiving federal grants months and even years late," said Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "Each year, WBCs, such as the Center for Women and Enterprise in Boston and Worcester, help tens of thousands of women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs turn dreams into reality by providing critical business development assistance. These centers should be allowed to focus on providing these services, instead of worrying about how to get their funding from Washington."

Leaders from WBCs around the country have charged that the application process for grants is arduous with circuitous procedures that result in delayed grant disbursals for qualified centers.

Last year, WBCs assisted more than 197,000 businesses nationwide. In Massachusetts, WBCs served almost 2,500 women in 2006. Since 1995, the Center for Women and Enterprise, which serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has trained over 13,000 entrepreneurs and helped them secure nearly $30 million in business loans, generating more than 15,000 jobs and $430 million in wages.

To read the letter Kerry sent to SBA Inspector General Eric Thorson, please click here.