New Opportunity for Rural, Women-Owned Businesses


SBA Press Release

In January 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in a joint effort with the White House, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, launched Ascent, a free digital e-learning platform designed for women. Ascent teaches women entrepreneurs how to grow and expand their businesses. It is packed with content and resources from each agency and backed by academic research.

SBA’s Utah District Office has joined forces with the New Mexico District Office to increase support for women-owned businesses in rural areas by adding a live, virtual component to the Ascent training called the SBA Ascent Rural Program. This new six-week program will combine online, self-guided e-learning using the Ascent platform and six group virtual sessions. During the live sessions, participants can network with other women entrepreneurs from Utah and New Mexico as they learn each week from subject matter experts in leadership, marketing, finance, human resources, capital access and contracting.

“The Ascent digital learning platform is a user-friendly tool for women entrepreneurs to gain knowledge on how to elevate their business goals,” said Marla Trollan, SBA Utah District Director. “This additional live, virtual training increases the program’s value by allowing women to ask specific questions to subject matter experts and build lasting relationships with other women business owners from our communities.”

The Ascent program helps the SBA reach more women where they are and when they need it. At the SBA, we are transforming our learning ecosystem to be timely and relevant to women-owned small businesses.

“The SBA Ascent Rural Program will help elevate rural women businesses by giving them the knowledge to grow their businesses so that they can compete with larger, more established businesses,” said John Garcia, SBA New Mexico District Director.

Applications are now being accepted on a first come, first served basis until the cohort is full. Due to limited seating, the Utah District Office encourages interested women to apply as soon as possible. Interested candidates must apply at Rural Ascent Training Program Application.


  • Applicant must be a woman starting a business or one who has owned a business for less than five years.
  • The business must be located in a rural area of Utah or New Mexico. Check Eligibility Eligibility(
  • The business’s average revenue must be $50,000 or less over the last five years.

Want More information

Interested women can learn more about the program by attending one of the 30-minute live information sessions held every Thursday in January at 10:30 a.m. MST. These sessions will include a brief presentation and time for Q&A. Information Session – registration link


For questions about this opportunity please reach out to:

scroll to top