The U.S. Small Business Administration will expand its Women’s Business Center program to South Carolina by awarding a $150,000 grant to an eligible nonprofit organization.

The SBA seeks a host organization for training, business counseling and other resources aimed at Palmetto State women entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their business.

“The funding of a new Women’s Business Center in South Carolina will expand women’s access to resources to help their businesses succeed,” SBA Assistant Administrator Kathy McShane said in a news release.

“We know that when women get help in the early stages of forming their businesses, they are more likely to succeed. We are encouraging organizations to come forward to provide small business assistance for women entrepreneurs, who are an engine for economic growth.”

The grant application can be found at the grants.gov portal with the keyword “OWBO” or look for the South Carolina Opportunity Number OWBO-2018-01-2. The submission deadline is Monday, June 11.

The SBA Women’s Business Centers are a national network of more than 100 locations that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops and mentoring to women entrepreneurs. Business development topics include startup, access to capital, international trade opportunities, marketing and federal contracting.

Eligible applicants must be private, nonprofit organizations with 501(c) tax-exempt status from the U.S. Treasury/IRS and must provide services to the population within South Carolina. These nonprofits include a university foundation, a chamber of commerce or an economic development institution. 

For local details, contact the SBA’s Savannah Wilburn at 803.253.3121 or savannah.wilburn@sba.gov.

Interested organizations can attend a Bidders Conference information session on Thursday, May 17, at 11 a.m., at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce at 930 Richland St.

Questions about the WBC funding opportunity to the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) can be answered via email at owbo@sba.gov.

During fiscal year 2017, the WBCs assisted nearly 150,000 entrepreneurs, which resulted in 17,000 new business starts.

“Women are an economic powerhouse to the South Carolina small business community, yet data shows there is still a gap in the resources women entrepreneurs receive,” said SBA South Carolina District Director Gregg White, and added that the next step is to find local partners “to level the playing field for women-owned small businesses.”