It was just 38 years ago when the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) began to dedicate resources and services to improve and increase women entrepreneurs, who now lead some of America’s most powerful and lucrative, job-creating firms.

The SBA established the Office of Women’s Business Ownership in response to a 1979 executive order signed by President Jimmy Carter. Prior to 1979, the term “woman entrepreneur” was rarely used. They called them “sidelines” or “part-time projects.”

Today, there are 9.8 million women-owned firms in the United States that generate $1.4 trillion in receipts. That’s more than the annual GDP of Russia, South Korea, Spain or Mexico. Texas has the second highest number of women-owned firms with 866.7 thousand. Their numbers continue to grow.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley District which covers 14 Texas counties, women were approved for SBA-backed loans worth $20.1 million in Fiscal 2016, a 104 percent increase over the Fiscal 2009 loan volume. About 441 women were approved for a total of $106 million to start or expand a business in the last eight years.

In 2011, the Women-owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSB) was implemented to expand the number of industries where WOSB were able to compete for federal contracts. This program enables Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) to compete for contracts that are set-aside in industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented.

Since the WOSB program was implemented, LRGV women-owned firms have been awarded $69 million in federal contracts.

Business counseling and training is a huge part of growth. Through SBA’s Women’s Business Center Program which was established in 1988, SBA nationwide was able to serve 2.3 million women in the last five years. These centers help women entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses. Each provides training in finance, management, marketing, and the Internet, as well as offering access to all of the SBA’s financial and procurement assistance programs.

Entrepreneurship has become so much more than making money, but rather building societies that value competition and compassion. And the LRGV District Office is proud to serve the small business communities in all 14 counties– we are here to help you start up, grow and succeed.

For more information on assistance SBA provides women entrepreneurs, visit You can also contact the Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office at 956-427-8533 for assistance.