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                                                     Calendar No. 266
114th Congress        }                       {              Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session           }                       {               114-413

======================================================================



 
            THE WOMEN'S SMALL BUSINESS OWNERSHIP ACT OF2015

                                _______
                                

               December 20, 2016.--Ordered to be printed

   Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of December 10 
                  (legislative day, December 9), 2016

                                _______
                                

Mr. Vitter, from the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2126]

    The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2126) to reauthorize the 
Women's Business Center Program of the Small Business 
Administration, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends 
that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                            I. INTRODUCTION

    The Women's Small Business Ownership Act (S. 2126) was 
introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell with Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. 
Heidi Heitkamp, Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Sen. 
David Vitter on October 1, 2015. The Women's Small Business 
Ownership Act reauthorizes and makes certain changes to the 
Women's Business Center Program at the Small Business 
Administration (SBA). During the markup of the bill, the bill 
was approved unanimously by voice vote.

              II. HISTORY (PURPOSE & NEED FOR LEGISLATION)

    The Women's Business Center (WBC) Program provides quality 
counseling and training services to women, primarily those who 
are socially and economically disadvantaged, in order to help 
them start and grow small firms in the local area in which they 
serve and to stimulate economic growth. Comprised of over 100 
local organizations that host the WBCs, located throughout most 
of the U.S. and its territories, the program helps more than 
150,000 clients annually. It is the only program within the 
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide counseling 
and training specifically to women, and the only authorized 
Entrepreneurial Development program providing counseling to 
socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Many WBCs 
provide multilingual services and a number offer daycare 
services, allowing for mothers with children to attend training 
classes. The WBC program also accommodates the needs of women 
by maintaining business hours on weekends and evenings.
    Originally created in 1988 by H.R. 5050, the ``Women's 
Business Ownership Act of 1988.'' (P.L. 100-533), the program 
opened its first 12 centers in 1989. In 1997, the program was 
reauthorized for three years by S. 1139, the ``Small Business 
Reauthorization Act of 1997'' (P.L. 105-135). The legislation 
increased the program's authorized funding level from $4 
million per fiscal year to $8 million for fiscal years 1998-
2000. Additionally, the bill precluded any funds appropriated 
under the authorization from being used for anything other than 
grants. Grantees awarded funds under this bill received funds 
for five years rather than three, as law dictated at that time.
    In 1999, ten years after the inception of the WBC program, 
Congress passed the ``Women's Business Centers Sustainability 
Act of 1999'' (PL 106-165) on December 9th. At that time, there 
were 81 centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto 
Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The program authorization levels 
were adjusted to $12 million, $12.8 million, $13.7 million, and 
$14.5 million for fiscal years 2000-2003, respectively. The 
higher authorization levels were intended to support 45 
existing centers, an average of 12 re-competing centers, and an 
average of 12 new centers per year.
    Since that time, the Committee has introduced legislation 
reauthorizing the program to keep pace with the demand for its 
services and the needs of women entrepreneurs. In the 111th 
Congress, Senators Landrieu and Snowe introduced the 
Entrepreneurial Development Act of 2009 (S. 1229) which sought 
to improve and expand the program further. The bill was voted 
unanimously out of Committee but did not move further in the 
Senate. The bill included language setting grants for the 
centers at $150,000 per year, and included language that 
required the Administration to allocate funds equally in the 
event of insufficient funding. The bill increased authorization 
levels to $20 million, $20.5 million, and $21 million for 
FY2010-2012. In the 112th Congress, Senator's Snowe and 
Landrieu introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the 
program which included substantially similar language as 
provisions reauthorizing the program in the bill from the 
previous Congress.
    Today, women-owned firms are a driver of economic growth. 
According to the most recent data, they account for $1.3 
trillion in revenue from more than 8.3 million individual firms 
employing 7.8 million people. From 1997 to 2013, the number of 
women-owned firms increased by 59 percent. Even despite periods 
of economic uncertainty, women-owned firms maintained their 
steady pace of growth. From 2007 to 2013, women-owned firms 
trailed only publicly-traded firms in U.S. job creation.
    In the 113th Congress, Senator Cantwell, as Chairwoman of 
the Committee, released a report entitled ``21st Century 
Barriers to Women's Entrepreneurship'' that assessed the 
current challenges faced by women-owned businesses. The report 
included four critical findings and provided policy 
recommendations to help remedy the business climate for women 
entrepreneurs.
    First, the report found that women business owners face 
challenges in getting access to capital. The report highlighted 
a study by the Urban Institute that finds only four percent of 
the total value of all conventional small business loans go to 
women entrepreneurs. The report also noted that women are 
forced to rely on personal savings, loans from family or 
friends, or high interest credit instead of traditional small 
business lending from banks.
    Second, the report found that women business owners still 
face challenges in getting access to loans of the right size. 
According to the report's findings, however, women-owned 
businesses have been very successful with the SBA's Microloan 
program, using loans of $50,000 and under and offered by 
intermediaries who also provide assistance in the development 
of business plans.
    Third, and most relevant to S. 2126, the report found that 
women entrepreneurs face challenges getting relevant business 
training and counseling. Women's Business Centers provide 
specialized counseling and training designed to address the 
unique challenges women face in starting a small business. The 
report showed that the Women's Business Centers have not been 
re-authorized since the 1990s and are in need of a 21st century 
modernization.
    As part of its policy recommendations, the report suggested 
reauthorizing the Women's Business Center Program. According to 
the report, the program is successful and continues to help 
women overcome these challenges in becoming entrepreneurs. The 
report stated that the WBC program has helped clients access 
more than $25 million in capital and open more than 630 
businesses in fiscal year 2013.
    Last, the committee report found that women business owners 
face challenges getting access to federal contracts. The 
federal government has never met its goal of awarding 5 percent 
of its contracts to women-owned businesses. The report noted 
that if the government met this goal, women-owned businesses 
would have access to a market opportunity worth up to $4 
billion a year.
    As a result of that report, Senator Cantwell, along with 
Senators Cardin, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Baldwin, Wash, Boxer, 
Hagan, Heinrich, Blumenthal, and Stabenow, introduced S. 2693, 
the ``Women's Small Business Ownership Act of 2014.'' As part 
of that legislation, Senator Cantwell sought to reauthorize the 
Women's Business Center Program and increase its funding. The 
legislation also included several programmatic improvements to 
help improve the program's service deliver and the SBA's 
administration of the program.

                      III. HEARINGS & ROUNDTABLES

    In the 111th Congress:
    On June 11, 2009, the Senate Committee on Small Business 
and Entrepreneurship held a roundtable discussion titled 
``Entrepreneurial Development: Investing in Small Businesses to 
Strengthen our Economy.'' The discussion included policy 
recommendations regarding the SBA's entrepreneurial development 
programs, such as Small Business Development Centers, Women's 
Business Centers, SCORE and other programs. The Committee 
received testimony from organizational representatives urging 
the Committee to reauthorize the Women's Business Center 
Program.
    In the 112th Congress:
    On April 18, 2012, the Senate Committee on Small Business 
and Entrepreneurship held a roundtable discussion titled 
``Perspectives from the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Creating 
Jobs and Growing Businesses through Entrepreneurship.'' The 
Committee received testimony from Ms. Juliet Gorman, 
Communications Director, Etsy; Patricia G. Greene, Ph.D., Paul 
T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, Babson College; Ms. 
Jennifer Hyman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Rent 
the Runway, among others, who discussed the obstacles facing 
women entrepreneurs and the need for additional training and 
counseling resources.
    On November 29, 2012, the Senate Committee on Small 
Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing titled ``Creating 
Jobs and Growing the Economy: Legislative Proposals to 
Strengthen the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.'' The Committee 
received testimony from agency representatives, including Mr. 
Michael Chodos, Associate Administrator of the Office of 
Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business 
Administration; small business stakeholders; entrepreneurs and 
policy experts. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss 
legislative proposals that promote job creation and small 
business growth in entrepreneurial ecosystems. During the 
hearing, the Committee received testimony in support of the 
SBA's entrepreneurial development programs, including the 
Women's Business Center Program.
    In the 113th Congress:
    On May 8, 2013, the Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship held a hearing titled ``Strengthening the 
Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Minority Women.'' The hearing 
focused on the success of the Women's Business Ownership Act, 
since its enactment 25 years previously, as well as increasing 
access to capital and credit, access to federal contracts and 
funding for technical assistance and counseling programs. 
Testifying before the Committee were U.S. Small Business 
Administration (SBA) Deputy Administrator, Marie Johns; 
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Deputy 
Director, Alejandra Castillo; Eva Longoria Foundation Founder, 
Eva Longoria; National Urban League President and CEO, Marc 
Morial; DSFederal, Inc. Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 
Sophia Parker; Brighton Enterprises, Inc. and Open-Box 
Creations, LLC Owner, Ms. Dixie Kolditz; and Lancaster 
Packaging, Inc. President & CEO, Marianne Lancaster. The 
Committee received testimony in support of the Women's Business 
Center Program and recommendations to reauthorize the program.
    On July 23, 2014, the Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship held a hearing titled ``Empowering Women 
Entrepreneurs: Understanding Successes, Addressing Persistent 
Challenges, and Identifying New Opportunities.'' The hearing 
was held in conjunction with Women Impacting Public Policy's 
annual leadership meeting in Washington, D.C. as well as the 
Association of Women's Business Centers' annual convention. 
Witnesses included women business owners who have benefited 
from government programs as well as successful women 
entrepreneurs, including Barbara Corcoran, co-host of the ABC 
reality show ``Shark Tank.'' During the hearing, the Committee 
received testimony in support of reauthorizing several SBA 
programs, including the Women's Business Center Program.

                        IV. DESCRIPTION OF BILL

    This bill clarifies the mission of the OWBO and directs the 
OWBO to collaborate with other entities to ensure that the WBC 
program maximizes taxpayer dollars and effectively complements 
the efforts of other Federal and private-sector programs. Award 
grants will be used to establish contracts or cooperative 
agreements related to the development of a training program for 
WBCs. This bill increases the transparency of the WBC financial 
assistance proposal and financial examination processes by 
requiring the Administrator to publicly publish evaluation 
criteria, the importance of each criteria, and its decisions. 
It also requires that WBCs who receive federal funding 
collaborate with organizations representing a majority of WBCs 
to develop a proposal for a WBC accreditation program 
(including establishing a system of peer review, site visits, 
regular inspections, performance standards and audits at the 
Administration's discretion) and submit it to Congress along 
with all funding details by the end of fiscal year 2016.
    WBC projects must be aimed at providing training and 
counseling that meets the needs of women, especially those 
socially or economically disadvantaged. The amount of Federal 
funding each WBC could receive per year would be capped at 
$250,000 per WBC but exceptions could be made if the qualifying 
WBC met performance goals for the previous year, has received 
more than $250,000 in non-federal contributions for that 
project year, and proposes a new project to be carried out with 
additional funding. Additional assistance may only be awarded 
if it is not more than 1% of the amount appropriated to the 
OWBO for this purpose. Eligible entities who fail to obtain 
non-Federal contributions for two consecutive years will be 
ineligible for advance disbursements for current and future 
projects unless they are able to obtain requisite non-Federal 
funding. This bill also outlines the selection criteria 
requirements and site visit requirements to ensure proper 
oversight and competitive participation.
    This bill authorizes $21.75 million for each fiscal year 
between 2016 and 2020. For fiscal year 2016, 2.65 percent of 
total appropriated amount, and for each of fiscal years 2017 to 
2020, 2.5 percent of total appropriated amount shall be 
available for selection panel costs, costs associated with 
developing and maintaining a training program, costs associated 
with maintaining an accreditation program, post-award 
conference costs, and costs related to monitoring. The 
Administrator is allowed to waive or reduce matching 
requirements for up to two years. In doing so, the 
Administrator must consider the economic conditions, the 
waiver's impact on the WBC's credibility, the WBC's ability to 
raise non-Federal funds, and the WBC's performance.
    The administration is prohibited from waiving the matching 
requirements if doing so reduces the WBC's credibility. WBCs 
may use financial assistance provided to solicit and manage 
funds from private parties.

                            V. COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with rule XXVI(11)(a)(1) of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee estimates the cost of the 
legislation will be equal to the amounts discussed in the 
following from the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 2126--Women's Small Business Ownership Act of 2015

    Summary: S. 2126 would amend the Small Business 
Administration's Women's Business Center Program, and authorize 
the appropriation of $21.75 million for each of fiscal years 
2016 through 2020 for that program. CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 2126 would cost $97 million over the 2016-2020 
period, assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.
    Enacting S. 2126 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues, therefore pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2126 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2026.
    S. 2126 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of S. 2126 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 370 
(commerce and housing credit).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................       22       22       22       22       22        109
Estimated Outlays.......................................       12       20       22       22       22         97
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Details may not sum to totals because of rounding.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
2126 will be enacted near the end of calendar year 2015.
    S. 2126 would authorize the appropriation of $21.75 million 
for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 to carry out the 
Women's Small Business Program. The SBA provides funds to 
nonprofit organizations that offer financial, management, and 
marketing assistance to small businesses owned or controlled by 
women. In 2015, the Congress provided $15 million for this 
program.
    The bill would make several changes to the program 
including broadening the types of organizations that would be 
eligible for grants under the program, and providing the SBA 
with authority to waive, for a limited time, requirements that 
funding recipients provide matching funds from nonfederal 
sources. S. 2126 also would direct the SBA to develop plans to 
establish an accreditation program for women's business centers 
and to provide training for service providers at the centers.
    Based on historical spending patterns for this program and 
assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates 
that implementing S. 2126 would cost $97 million over the 2016-
2020 period.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 2126 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2026.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 2126 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. State, local, and tribal entities would 
benefit from federal assistance for training and education 
programs. Any costs to those entities would be incurred 
voluntarily as a condition of receiving federal assistance.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Susan Willie; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell; 
Impact on the Private Sector: Logan Smith.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  VI. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    In compliance with rule XXVI(11)(b) of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate, it is the opinion of the Committee that no 
significant additional regulatory impact will be incurred in 
carrying out the provisions of this legislation. There will be 
no additional impact on the personal privacy of companies or 
individuals who utilize the services provided.

                    VII. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 1. Short title

    ``Women's Small Business Ownership Act of 2015''

Sec. 2. Definitions

    Definitions for the terms of: Administration, 
Administrator, small business concern, small business 
development center, and women's business center.

Sec. 3. Office of Women's Business Ownership

    Outlines responsibilities of the Office of Women's Business 
Ownership to include: addressing issues concerning the 
management, operations, manufacturing, technology, finance, 
retail and product sales, international trade, Government 
contracting, and other disciplines required for starting, 
operating, and increasing the business of small business 
concerns.
    Directs the Office to work with Administration officials 
and collaborate with entities other than the Administration to 
ensure that the work of the women's business center program 
maximizes taxpayer dollars and coordinates effectively with the 
efforts of other Federal Government and private sector 
programs.
    Directs the Office will confer and seek the advice of 
Administration Officials in areas served by the women's 
business centers, the National Women's Business Council, and 
any organization representing the majority of women's business 
centers.
    States the mission of the Office will be to assist women 
entrepreneurs to start, grow, and compete in global markets by 
providing quality support with access to capital, access to job 
markets, job creation, growth, and counseling and training.
    Directs carrying out the fostering of participation of 
women entrepreneurs in the economy by overseeing a network of 
women's business centers throughout States and territories. It 
will create public-private partnerships to support women 
entrepreneurs and conduct outreach and education to startup and 
existing small business concerns owned and controlled by women. 
It will work with other initiatives and programs of the 
Administration to ensure women are well-represented and being 
served and to identify gaps where participation by women could 
be increased.
    Requires provision of annual programmatic and financial 
examination training for women's business center 
representatives and district office technical representatives 
of the Administration to carry out their responsibilities.
    Requires that award grants or enter into contracts or 
cooperative agreements related to training to develop a plan 
for a training program for women's business centers, including 
attendance to relevant national conferences, by September 30, 
2016. The training program will cover managing, financing, and 
operation of small business concerns; marketing, including use 
of social media; management and technology assistance regarding 
small business concern participation in international markets, 
export promotion, and technology transfer; and delivery or 
distribution of services and information of all the above.
    Maximizes the transparency of the women's business center 
financial assistance proposal process and programmatic and 
financial examination process. Provides public notice of any 
announcement for financial assistance while outlining award and 
program evaluation criteria and describing weighting of 
criteria for financial assistance and grants. No later than 60 
days after completion of a site visit, when feasible, provides 
each business center with a copy of any site visit report or 
evaluation prepared.
    Requires that the Administrator submits to Congress, no 
later than September 30, 2016, a plan to develop--including 
identification of funding needs--an accreditation program of 
women's business centers which would be developed with the 
consultation and collaboration of organizations representing a 
majority of women's business centers.
    Directs the accreditation program to establish a regular 
system of peer review and site visits to be conducted in 
addition to the regular inspections and audits at the 
discretion of the Administration. In addition, it will develop 
standards for assessment of performance to include: leadership 
and management, strategic planning, market and client needs 
assessment, and metrics and measurements of performance and 
results.
    Amends the Small Business Act by clarifying the role the 
SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership and requiring the 
Office of Women's Business Ownership to consult with 
organizations representing a majority Women's Business Centers 
(WBCs).

Sec. 4. Women's Business Center Program

    Replaces terms like ``recipient of assistance'', 
``applicant organization'' and ``such organization'' with 
eligible entity (EE) and defines such as: private nonprofit 
organizations; state, regional, or local economic development 
organization; a development, credit, or finance corporation 
chartered by a State; a junior or community college; or any 
combination of these entities.
    Defines the term ``women's business center'' as a project 
conducted by an EE defined above. Instead of only allowing the 
Administration to provide financial assistance to private non-
profits for 5-year projects, this section allows the provision 
of finances for EE's conducting a project for the benefit of 
small business concerns owned and controlled by women.
    Projects must be designed to provide training and 
counseling that meets the needs of women, especially socially 
or economically disadvantaged women in order to qualify.
    Limits the maximum grant amount to no more than $250,000 
per WBC per year.
    Amends that more than $250,000 of annual financial 
assistance may be provided if the WBC has met performance goals 
for the previous year (if applicable), has received more than 
$250,000 in non-Federal contributions for that project year, is 
in good standing with the women's business center program, and 
proposes a new project to be carried out with the additional 
assistance.
    Requires the administrator to consult with any organization 
representing a majority of WBCs to develop a training program 
for women's business centers and recommendations toward 
improving policies and procedures for governing the general 
operations and administration of the women's business center 
program, including grant program improvements.
    States that if any EE fails to obtain the non-federal 
contribution during any project for two consecutive years, the 
entity shall not be eligible for advance disbursements for the 
current project or any other project funded by the 
Administration unless the Administration determines that the EE 
is able to obtain the requisite non-Federal funding.
    In its application for financial assistance, the EE is 
required to submit to the Administrator certification of 
designation of an executive director or program manager. The EE 
must also agree to receive a site visit at the discretion of 
the Administrator as part of the selection process, to undergo 
annual programmatic and financial examination, and to remedy 
any problems identified pursuant to the site visit.
    Requires that the EE also submit information demonstrating 
that it has the ability and resources to meet the needs of the 
market to be served, and an ability to obtain non-Federal 
contributions. The EE shall also submit information 
demonstrating its experience and effectiveness in: conducting 
financial, management, and marketing assistance programs, which 
are designed to teach or upgrade the business skills of women 
who are business owners or potential business owners; providing 
training and services to a representative number of women who 
are socially or economically disadvantaged; and working with 
resource partners of the Administration and other entities.
    Requires that the EE also submit a 5-year plan 
demonstrating the ability of the WBC to serve women who are 
business owners or potential business owners and provide 
training and services to women who are socially or economically 
disadvantaged.
    Requires that the Administrator, to the extent practicable, 
conduct a site visit to each EE as part of the final selection 
process. Selection criteria will be established before the 
deadline, stated in relative terms of importance, and publicly 
available and stated in each solicitation for applicants. 
Selection criteria for financial assistance shall include: 
experience of the applicant in conducting programs or ongoing 
efforts designed to teach or enhance business skills of women 
who are owners or potential owners; the ability to begin a 
project within a minimum amount of time, as established; the 
ability to provide training and services to women who are 
socially or economically disadvantaged; whether the WBC program 
proposed will be sustainable for more than a 5-year period; and 
whether the proposed location proposed includes women who are 
underserved or includes significant groups of women who are 
underserved due to language or other social, cultural, and 
economic barriers.
    Requires that the principal place of business of the 
applicant be located more than 50 miles from an existing or 
current women's business center.
    Allows exception to the 50 mile condition if the applicant: 
submits a detailed written justification of the need for an 
additional center in the area, including information 
demonstrating that it is not providing redundant or duplicative 
services of the existing or current center; submits a detailed 
plan for how it plans to reach clients outside the geographic 
area of the existing or current center; and demonstrates that 
it has a pre-existing presence in other parts of the same 
geographic area.
    Requires the Administration retain a copy of each 
application for no less than 5 years, and directs the 
Administrator to take steps to reduce, to the maximum extent 
practicable, the paperwork burden associated with the process.
    Directs the Administrator to solicit applications and award 
grants for the first fiscal year after enactment, and every 
third fiscal year thereafter. As a final part of the selection 
process for grants, the Administrator may at its discretion, 
carry out site visits to each women's business center to 
evaluate it based upon its selection criteria. Selection 
criteria will include: the total number of entrepreneurs 
served; total number of new startup companies assisted; 
percentage of clients socially or economically disadvantaged; 
percentage of individuals in the community socially or 
economically disadvantaged; successful participation under the 
accreditation program; and any additional criteria the 
Administrator requires.
    Conditions for continued funding will include consideration 
of the results of the most recent evaluation of the women's 
business center, and to a lesser extent, previous evaluations. 
The administrator may also withhold a grant if it determines 
that the applicant has failed to provide information required, 
or if it is inadequate.
    Establishes that there is no limitation on the number of 
times the Administrator may award a grant to an applicant.
    Authorizes $21,750,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 to 
2020 to be appropriated to the Administration. Of the amount 
made available, the following amount shall be available for 
selection panel costs, costs associated with developing and 
maintaining a training program, costs associated with 
maintaining an accreditation program, post-award conference 
costs, and costs related to monitoring. For fiscal year 2016, 
2.65 percent of total appropriated amount. For each of fiscal 
years 2017 to 2020, 2.5 percent.
    Requires the Administrator, to the extent practicable, 
promptly reimburse funds to any women's business center awarded 
if the center meets the eligibility requirements.
    The Administrator may not suspend or terminate the grant or 
cooperative agreement with a WBC unless, it provides the WBC 
with written notification setting forth the reasons, and 
affords the WBC an opportunity for a hearing, appeal, or other 
administrative proceeding under chapter 5 of title 5, U.S. 
Code.

Sec. 5. Matching requirements under Women's Business Center Program

    Allows the Administrator to waive, in whole or in part, the 
requirement to obtain non-Federal funds for counseling and 
training activities of the recipient of financial assistance. 
The Administrator may not waive the requirement for a recipient 
organization to obtain non-Federal funds for more than a total 
of 2 consecutive fiscal years.
    Requires the Administrator to consider when determining 
whether to waive the requirement to obtain non-Federal funds: 
the economic conditions affecting the recipient; the impact of 
a waiver would have on the credibility of the women's business 
center program; the demonstrated ability of the recipient to 
raise non-Federal funds; and the performance of the recipient.
    Prohibits the Administrator from waiving the requirement to 
obtain non-Federal funds if granting the waiver would undermine 
the credibility of the WBC program.
    Allows for a recipient to solicit, notwithstanding any 
other provision of law, cash and in-kind contributions from 
private individuals and entities to be used in carrying out 
activities. It may use amounts made available by the 
Administration for the cost of such solicitation and management 
of the contributions received.
    Exempts the amount of non-Federal dollars obtained that is 
above the amount required to be obtained, and which is not used 
as matching funds for purposes of implementing the program, 
from part 200 of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, or any 
successor thereto.
    Requires the Administrator to publish in the Federal 
Register proposed regulations to carry out amendments to 
section 2 of the Small Business Act, and to accept public 
comments on proposed regulations for not less than 60 days.

                                  [all]