SBA Awards $5 Million in PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Micro-entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

(September 20, 2019)

U.S. Small Business Administration

Release Number: 19-51
Contact: Miryam Mora Barajas,
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs & Instagram

SBA Awards $5 Million in PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Micro-entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital
SBA Awards $150,000 to Service Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs

SANTA BARBARA – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $150,000 has been awarded  to Women’s Economic Ventures to help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses through the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs PRIME.

“The SBA is proud to help small businesses access capital while also ensuring they have access to the resources and training needed to create healthy, sustainable businesses,” SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton said. “We are proud that this year’s PRIME grant awardees include organizations that are located in Opportunity Zones which are designed to spur economic development in disadvantaged areas.”

This year’s 30 recipients come from 22 states, and eight of the recipients are in Opportunity Zones. President Trump signed legislation creating Opportunity Zones in 2017 to spur new capital investment in America’s economically distressed communities. Nearly 9,000 communities in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones. The PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, over 130 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2019.

The 2019 PRIME Grant will help Women’s Economic Ventures offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas, and HUBZones.

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) CEO & Founder Marsha Bailey explained that “WEV provides a continuum of business education and consulting programs as well as start-up and expansion loans to help (primarily) women start and expand their small business. The profound impact of natural disasters on small businesses in our region amplified the need for additional support and financial management training. The SBA PRIME is critical funding to help WEV provide expanded business finance training services that local small businesses need to become more resilient and prepared to survive unpredictable events in the future.”

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2019, and the project period for each grant is one year.

For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, go online to

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more visit

About Women’s Economic Ventures
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business. WEV serves Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.   While WEV targets its services toward women, it helps men as well. Services are provided in both English and Spanish.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to more than 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made over $5 million in business loans, and helped more than 4,500 local businesses start or expand.  WEV-supported businesses generate more than $300 million in annual sales revenues and have created nearly 9,000 jobs. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).