With March being Women's History Month, the US Small Business Administration is putting extra focus on helping women-owned businesses get started and keep growing.
Business developers say that getting connected to the right marketing, tax, or legal help can be a huge challenge for a small business owner, especially in Nebraska where many start-ups are Internet-run or home-based in rural areas.
The SBA says women-owned businesses are a fast growing part of the community, making up 7.8 of the 28 million small businesses nationwide.
But speakers at a women entrepreneurs conference in Grand Island say getting started can be tough.
"They've always been challenged at getting access to capital, and a lot of times women don't necessarily want to, maybe it's harder for them to get out and meet people," says Barbara Foster, Lead Economic Development specialist for the SBA in Omaha.
SBA Region 7 Regional Administrator Patricia Brown-Dixon says women might not try for a loan, or if they get one, don't get enough. She says that's where they come in as the only federal agency dedicated to helping small businesses.
"We've got microloans from $500-50,000, and they also help with credit repair and credit-building for those that have been married and for some reason are now alone and they didn't have anything in their names," says Brown-Dixon.
SBA and the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project say they're ready to help all small businesses, not just women-owned ones.