17-10-10 Shannon Mantaro

Shannon Mantaro, the director for Texas Woman's University Center for Women in Business.

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and there is very good reason to celebrate.

In the United States, women own 12.3 million companies — an increase of almost 60 percent compared with 10 years ago. These woman-owned firms employ more than 8 million people and provide $264 billion in wages.

In addition:

■ 1,821 new woman-owned business opened each day between 2017 and 2018;

■ 5.8 million companies are minority-owned, an increase of 163 percent since 2007;

■ In 2018, 208,000 woman-owned businesses generated revenues of more than $1 million, an increase of 46 percent over the past 11 years.

In Texas alone, there are an estimated 11 million privately held businesses owned by women. According to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express, out of the 10 metropolitan areas that increased their growth rates the most for number of woman- owned firms and related employment and revenues over the last 10 years, Texas took an incredible three spots for San Antonio, Austin and Dallas- Fort Worth.

Denton County has no shortage of resources to help support the growth and sustainability of woman-owned businesses.

One resource available to women seeking to expand or start a business is Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business.

The CWB’s primary goal is to encourage and support women’s business ownership and success through one-on-one business counseling, networking and mentoring opportunities, training workshops, grant funding and a business reference library — all free and available to entrepreneurs in the Denton community.

The Small Business Development Center of North Central Texas is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration and North Central Texas College and has satellite offices throughout the area. The SBDC provides a broad range of assistance to business owners such as financial statement analysis, marketing, accounting, record keeping, sales and advertising.

If you are interested in government contracting, exporting, market expansion or emerging technologies, the SBDC is an excellent source of information. Its services are provided at no charge.

The Denton Public Library is a great resource for entrepreneurship-related information and can provide you with access to Reference USA, which profiles 49 million businesses (public and private), 281 million consumers and their purchase patterns and buying habits. This is a great tool to help you determine whether you should start your business or not, where it should be located and whether there are potential customers.

It is important to get the word out about your business, and one of the best ways of doing this is to take advantage of networking opportunities in your area. Contact your local chamber of commerce to find out how you can attend networking events, fundraisers, workshops and other activities, all with the goal of connecting local business owners.

Access to capital is, of course, crucial for your growing business. In addition to local lending institutions, the Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program is designed to promote economic development and job creation through small businesses.

The 504 program can make the overall financing structure for a new business or project more attractive and affordable. The program offers accessible, fixed-rate, long-term financing for land, buildings and equipment. Contact your local bank or SBA office for funding opportunities.

Woman-owned businesses have made great strides over the last 10 years. Because of this indelible impact our country’s economy, it is critical that they continue to receive the assistance and access to capital that they need to continue this incredible growth.

Shannon Mantaro is director of Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business and can be reached at smantaro@twu.edu. For more information regarding the Center for Women in Business, visit https://twu.edu/cwb.