Sununu backs WBC support measure

U.S. Sen. John Sununu has added his support to efforts to pass the Women’s Small Business Ownership Programs Act of 2006, legislation designed to strengthen the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center program.

Sununu said the legislation (S. 3659) “would ensure that successful women’s business centers – like the New Hampshire Women’s Business Center – have continued access to SBA funding to provide women entrepreneurs with valuable education, counseling, and mentoring.”

He said the measure would provide “the opportunity for this valuable work to flourish and meet an increasing demand for skills that are so critical to success in today’s business environment.”

There are more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the country, including the WBC in Portsmouth, financed by a mix of private and public funding, including resources from the SBA.

Now in its 11th year, the New Hampshire WBC assists more than 1,000 women a year in New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts and southern Maine with education programming, one-to-one counseling and peer support.

Under the legislation, eligible new centers will receive an initial four-year SBA grant and existing centers with proven records of success will be eligible to receive additional three-year renewable grants.

The measure, introduced by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. — JEFF FEINGOLD

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