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ASU wins grant to support women entrepreneurs

September 05, 2014

Arizona State University has received a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to launch a new initiative to support and advance women-led businesses.

The $50,000 grant, awarded as part of the SBA’s inaugural Growth Accelerator Fund competition, will fund the ASU Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. The new program will leverage the strengths of ASU’s Edson Entrepreneurship Initiative and the grant will provide new resources to advance programming for women entrepreneurs at ASU and beyond.

While women comprise slightly more than half of the potential U.S. workforce, they are underrepresented among entrepreneurs. According to the SBA, women entrepreneurs are majority owners in only 36 percent of all businesses in the United States. To address the gap, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative will provide support and resources specifically tailored to the needs of female entrepreneurs.

“When entrepreneurship training programs are created with the particular needs of women in mind, the results can be especially positive,” said Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives at ASU. “Research has shown that women who receive training from centers focused specifically on women’s entrepreneurship have greater confidence in their abilities, which positively affects their performance as entrepreneurs.”

The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund competition aims to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. ASU is one of 50 grant recipients – and one of only three universities – selected from more than 800 applicants.

The SBA will honor the winners at an event in Washington, D.C., in November, which is National Entrepreneurship Month.