By: John Hart, Greater Texas Capital Corporation
This week is National Small Business Week, a national celebration of the uniquely American Dream of entrepreneurial free enterprise that has powered our country’s prosperity for centuries. To commemorate and honor the small business owners who are on the front lines of economic growth and job creation, the U.S. Small Business Administration is holding events around the country, including right here in Dallas. As someone who helps entrepreneurs and small businesses every day, I personally think every week should be National Small Business Week; but since we have this presidentially-sanctioned week to rightly lionize the engine of our economy, there’s an even more select group that deserves our recognition: women business owners.
There’s been something of a national conversation sparked by Facebook Chief Operation Officer Sheryl Sandberg and her call for women to “lean in” and pursue their professional goals aggressively. While opinions are strong and varied, one thing that is clear is that women have been good for the economy at large, and in Washington State.
According to the National Women’s Business Council’s 2012 Annual Report, nearly eight million businesses nationwide, employing 13 million people are owned by women, and they generate $1.2 trillion in sales on an annual basis. The number of woman-owned businesses has grown by nearly 60% in the past 15 years.
In Texas, woman-owned businesses have grown nearly 75% in the past 15 years. In Dallas, woman-owned businesses have grown 47.8% in the past decade, the second-best metropolitan area for growth in the country.
Local certified development companies, non-profits authorized by the SBA to administer certain lending programs, like Capital CDC and Greater Texas Capital Corporation, help many of these businesses succeed by giving them access to capital through the SBA’s 504 loan program as other sources have dried up in the wake of the recession. Businesses like The Plaid Peacock, a consignment retail center started by Deborah Seidler in Roanoke that has created over 100 jobs or Timpson Quick Stop, a woman-owned family business that’s used the 504 loan program twice to help finance their expansion and growth, creating 29 jobs in the process.
But whether it’s a retail center or a convenience store or anything else, entrepreneurship requires the fuel of capital to succeed. In fact, access to capital continues to be one of the biggest impediments to job creation and economic development that woman-owned businesses face. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners’ 2013 “State of Women-Owned Business Survey,” nearly a quarter of women business owners did not seek a new loan or line of credit because they did not believe they would get it. This fear is not unfounded: loan approval rates for women-owned companies are 15%-20% lower than they are for their male-owned counterparts. Given the success of female entrepreneurs and business owners both here in Texas and nationwide, this seems to be akin to leaving job creation on the sidelines, precisely when we need it most.
As we celebrate the courage and hard work of small businesses everywhere this week, we are reminded that there are still more to be done to expand the opportunity of entrepreneurship. The risk of starting your own business or owning your own enterprise isn’t for everyone, male or female, but women have proven that when they do take the risks, communities from Dallas to Amarillo to Corpus Christi benefit.
Hart, formerly of Gilmer, is the President and CEO of the Greater Texas Capital Corporation, one of Texas’ fastest growing Certified Development Companies which has helped finance over $252.5 million in small business growth and economic development throughout Texas
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John Hart, President
As president and CEO, John Hart leads Greater Texas Capital Corporation with a comprehensive understanding of government guaranteed lending, financial expertise, professional accounting proficiency, and personal integrity. Under his direction, GTCC has become the fastest growing CDC in Texas and one of the premier CDCs in the five-state SBA Region VI. For more than two decades, John’s ability to match the needs of small business owners with lenders and SBA programs has generated tremendous success, evidenced by over $500 million in funded SBA 504 and 7a projects in more than 1,000 loan applications. He currently oversees all operations, represents GTCC at SBA meetings and events, and promotes the 504 loan program to lenders, businesses, economic development agencies and others in the marketplace.
Prior to the formation of GTCC, John operated Source Funding, a company that specialized in assisting banks and borrowers in screening, packaging, and placing government guaranteed loans. His professional experience as a CPA with the firms, Arms, Jeffers and Co. and Bryant & Wellborn in Tyler, Texas was enhanced by his earlier work as senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst in Fort Worth, Texas, concentrating on bank auditing and compliance. John also owned and operated his own CPA practice for 12 years, specializing in small business clients. John is a native of East Texas and earned a BBA in Accounting at Texas Tech University.
His commitment to the industry and community is evidenced by service to many civic and professional organizations. He is the current President of the North Texas Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and a committee member of the National Association of Development Companies. Locally, he is on the Board of Directors of the Tyler Economic Development Council and a member of the Northeast Texas Economic Developers Round Table. John also pursues a special ministry to small business owners and managers, “Business by the Book.” He conducts seminars and small group meetings on this subject.