SBA Announces Grant Funding for New Women’s Business Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced $30 million in funding opportunities for Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), including a new center in the U.S. Virgin Islands and first-time funding for WBCs specializing in federal contracting and child care businesses. The initiative aims to expand virtual services, support socially and economically disadvantaged women, and enhance the SBA’s reach, especially in underserved communities, through an unprecedented network of 152 WBCs across the U.S. and its territories. Read more in the SBA’s press release on this initiative.

The Story Behind The Company, Baked By Melissa

Melissa Ben-Ishay founded Baked by Melissa after being fired from her ad agency job, leading her to start a cupcake business with her brother. The company grew from Ben-Ishay’s apartment kitchen to a commercial kitchen and multiple locations, leveraging social media to expand its reach, while Ben-Ishay became a successful CEO and cookbook author, overcoming gender-based obstacles in entrepreneurship. To read more about her journey, see this piece posted on CNBC

Why You Might Consider a Shop On Etsy

Etsy, originally an artisanal marketplace, has grown into a major platform for creative entrepreneurs, boasting a $3.5B+ valuation as of 2015. The user-friendly setup and management, along with potential for significant supplemental income, make it an attractive option for those looking to monetize their crafts amid rising living costs. See this piece in Essence for more info.

How Small Businesses Can Leverage Facebook/Meta

A Facebook presence is highly beneficial for small businesses, offering tools to promote services, increase customer support, and boost sales to its 2.91 billion users. With targeted paid campaigns and a Facebook Business Page, businesses can efficiently reach specific audiences, engage customers, and enhance their online visibility while keeping marketing costs low. To read more details about tips and tricks for effectively using Facebook for your small business, check out this article in Business News Daily.

Many Small Businesses Struggle with Marketing

Despite an improving economy and record-setting consumer spending, small businesses are struggling to effectively market their goods and services, with many overwhelmed by marketing and lacking confidence in their current strategies, as revealed by a report from Constant Contact. Factors such as economic worry and time constraints contribute to this marketing anxiety, leading to a cycle of procrastination hindering small businesses from reaching their potential.

Digital Entrepreneurship Helps Break the Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling, a metaphor for the barrier hindering women’s advancement in business, remains a persistent challenge despite some individual successes. According to this opinion piece in Entrepreneur, rather than solely fighting against the system, there’s a call for women to unite, support each other, and overcome self-limiting beliefs. Digital entrepreneurship presents an opportunity for women to bypass traditional barriers and achieve success independently. Taking proactive steps, rather than just discussing the issue, is emphasized, with the hope that female empowerment will continue to grow and eventually dismantle the glass ceiling for future generations.

Outcomes of the Small and Mid-sized Business Owners Report

The 2024 Bank of America Business Owner Report shows a positive outlook among small and mid-sized business owners, with an expectation of revenue growth and reduced concerns about recession. While inflation and interest rates are still on their radar, these worries have lessened compared to the previous year. Business expansion plans are in place for the coming year, with a focus on customer engagement and technological advancements to differentiate businesses. Small businesses are cautiously optimistic, with a majority expecting revenue increases, while mid-sized businesses show stronger confidence, with plans for expansion and hiring. Digital tools are being increasingly adopted to streamline operations, with AI implementation on the horizon for many businesses.

How a TikTok Ban May Impact Small Businesses

The launch of TikTok Shop led to significant sales growth for small and medium-sized businesses, such as Michelle Silva’s Kali Rose Boutique which is mentioned in this CBS News piece. The potential ban of TikTok in the United States poses a threat to these businesses’ revenue streams and could lead to layoffs and economic consequences, prompting concerns among business owners and experts about the impact on the digital ecosystem and economy.

Documentary “Show Her The Money”

“Show Her The Money” is a documentary that addresses the plight of women entrepreneurs who aren’t getting their share of venture capital. The film follows four visionary founders as they endure uphill battles to turn their ideas into reality.  After an award-winning film festival run, the movie has embarked on a 50-city grassroots global tour. To learn more about how to catch a screening, see this link.

Small Business Optimism Index Hits 11-Year Low

Small business confidence reached its lowest point in over 11 years this past March. According to a report from the National Federation of Independent Business, concerns about persistent inflation are weighing heavily on small business owners. Despite some indicators suggesting a decrease in inflation, rising costs, particularly in input and labor, remain a significant issue for small businesses, leading to widespread anticipation of further price hikes and increased compensation.