Loan approvals to New Jersey women business owners increased by 26 percent during fiscal year 2016 (the period from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016), the U.S. Small Business Administration reported.

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Female business owners received 355 SBA loans for a total of $113 million this past fiscal year, compared to the 280 loans for $114.4 million they received during fiscal year 2015, according to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone.

"They've actually been leading the way for a few years now," said Titone.

Titone attributed the jump in these loan approvals to several factors, including outreach to women businesses, small-business development centers, so-called microlending of small amounts to startup companies, and a general willingness to lend to small businesses and women owners.

With more support available for female entrepreneurs today than there was years ago, Titone said, "They realize, 'Hey, I can!'"

As women and men age and enter retirement, they're getting into something that they've always wanted to do.

"It's not just the gender. It's also we're seeing more women at retirement age saying, 'Okay, I'm done with my career and now I want to go into something else'," said Titone.

A break down of New Jersey loan approvals to women by industry shows full-service restaurants leading the top ten, followed by beauty salons, child day care services, landscaping services, nail salons, veterinary services, coin-operated laundries and dry cleaners, personal care services, supermarkets and other grocery stores (except convenience stores), and dentist offices.

“An analysis of our loan data shows this year women business owners received 20 percent of the 1,754 loans approved by SBA’s New Jersey district office and 14 percent of the $805 million that went to all small business owners around the state. The average SBA loan to a New Jersey women-owned business in 2016 was for a little over $316,000,” said Titone.

The 355 SBA loans approved to women-owned businesses in 2016 helped to create 1,345 jobs and retain another 1,475 jobs throughout the state.

“This only confirms what we already know, that New Jersey women business owners play a vital role in our local economy,” Titone said. “We have come a long way since 2012, when we approved 167 loans for $69 million to women-owned businesses and each year after that number has increased incrementally.”

Titone encouraged women to continue to visit the SBA's website at https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/nj/newark and take advantage of free services the agency offers.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at Dianne.DeOliveira@townsquaremedia.com.

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