SBA launches women’s business centers at HBCUs nationwide

BALTIMORE, Md. — From wellness centers to fashion boutiques – these are some of the  Black women entrepreneurs who are getting federal support from the Baltimore Metropolitan Women’s Business Center.

This hub is located at Morgan State University and it’s one of several Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration to grow women business ownership.

“I’ve seen women’s businesses go from crisis to stability,” said Ann Frank, director at the Baltimore Metropolitan Women’s Business Center.

She believes this kind of federal support is long overdue.

“I’m gonna be transparent and say it’s about time,” said Frank. “Certainly, HBCUs have not really had their share of federal dollars!”

Currently, SBA has 10 centers affiliated with HBCUs in North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Maryland.

“Not only do they have a history of educating African Americans, they have a history of service to their communities. And so we figured that we would invest in those who have always invested in underserved communities,” said Donald Smith, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership.

These centers offer guidance, and counseling and help women entrepreneurs gain access to capital.

In Baltimore, the center at Morgan State works with more than 500 women. Now, Frank says they need even more federal funding to keep up with demand.

“It’s hard to keep up with! We need more resources, we need [more] money, so we can hire more people to help more people,” said Frank.

SBA officials say they’re also working to increase the number of women business owners that receive contracts with the federal government. There are also similar hubs located at Hispanic-serving institutions.

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