San Diego’s Women’s Business Center Earns National Award and San Diego’s Small Business Development Center earns the Western Region Award
Southwestern College is the host to the San Diego & Imperial WBC and SBDC Network. Both are being recognized nationally and regionally for their excellent service to thousands of small businesses
NATIONAL CITY – The first week of May is National Small Business Week, and among the top organizations recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are the San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center (WBC) who is recognized as the national Women’s Business Center of Excellence and the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network as the western region (Region IX) Small Business Development Center of Excellence and Innovation.
Both the WBC and SBDC are part of Southwestern Community College District and are located at the Center for Business Advancement in the Higher Education Center in National City.
The San Diego & Imperial WBC started in April 2018 with the award of the grant to Southwestern College. Katty Ibarra was selected as the first (and still only) director of the program. Katty has built the program to now be a leader in helping women entrepreneurs start businesses, help women business owners improve their confidence and entrepreneurial mindset, and particularly helping Spanish speaking women start and grow their in-home child care businesses. In the past 3 years the WBC has provided assistance via counseling and training to 3,138 businesses, helped 160 new businesses start, and helped 294 businesses access capital to grow their business.
The San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network has been at Southwestern College since 2003 and is the lead center for the 10 centers throughout the region. Daniel Fitzgerald has been the Regional Director since 2020. The SBDC supports small business owners through hundreds of trainings and tens of thousands of hours of one-on-one business advising as they start their businesses, develop marketing strategies, support and create jobs, develop and improve financial reporting, obtain government contracts, and access capital to grow. The SBDC works to serve those most in need by having 60% of the counseling hours be for women business owners, 18% in a language other than English, and 57% to people of color. In the past three years the SBDC has assisted 12,859 businesses, 707 new businesses start, support 68,729 jobs, obtain $342,967,000 in government contracts, and access $1.41 billion in capital.