WASHINGTON – Women-owned businesses are becoming savvier with SBA loans and credit unions might want to take notice. The SBA and its lending partners provided nearly 18,000 loans totaling $2.5 billion to women-owned businesses in fiscal year 2004, the highest numbers ever in SBA’s history. SBA Administrator Hector Barreto said women-owned small businesses also received $1.5 billion in federal contracts in FY 2003, the most recent year for which data is available. The total value of federal contracts to women-owned businesses rose from $6.8 billion to $8.3 billion, a total of 2.98% of all federal prime contract dollars. From FY 2000 to FY 2003, prime contract dollars increased by 81%, or more than $3.7 billion. The SBA’s Business Matchmaking program has created approximately 22,000 one-on-one appointments between small business owners and buyers from federal and local governments and the private sector. Of those businesses that received contracts, 50% have been women-owned businesses, according to the SBA. Women-owned businesses have also received 65% of contracting dollars.

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