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Sam's Club grant to support women entrepreneurs
April 4th, 2014
NEW YORK – Sam's Club president and chief executive officer Rosalind Brewer has announced a $2.5 million grant designed to promote the establishment and growth of women-owned businesses.
The grant from the Sam's Club Giving Program will go to three nonprofit groups to establish the WE Lend Initiative, a two-year effort to provide women entrepreneurs with increased access to training and affordable loans.
The training and loans will be provided by Women's Business Centers (WBCs) recognized by the Small Business Administration. The grant from Sam's Club will aim to train select WBCs to become microlenders and provide capital for loans to women who own businesses, and also strengthen the centers' ability to refer women to other sources of capital, and to provide women with financial literacy and loan readiness skills.
"Lack of access to capital and financing continues to be a leading deterrent to success for U.S. women-owned businesses," Brewer said. "The WE Lend Initiative seeks to bridge this financing gap and empower women entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. We are excited to support our grantees and the Small Business Administration to advance Women’s Business Centers and provide hundreds of women-owned businesses with effective training and microlending resources."
The grant is being awarded to three nonprofit groups dedicated to small business prosperity and growth: The National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Women Impacting Public Policy; and Accion, the U.S. Network.
Brewer announced the grant at the 2014 Catalyst Awards Conference. The announcement came a day after Sam's Club unveiled a new quarterly tracking poll, done in collaboration with Gallup, focused on microbusinesses. Defined as businesses employing five or fewer workers, the nation's 25 million microbusinesses —including everything from pizza shops to pet groomers -— account for about 10% of American jobs.
The first poll found that nearly half of new microbusinesses are owned by women. And while 31% of microbusiness owners rely on a second job for the bulk of their income, 69% say owning their business is the ideal job.