Around half of the population of the United States is female. At the same time, women account for less than 30 percent of business owners in the United States. That figure has climbed slowly from about 26 percent about 10 years ago. There may be several reasons why women don’t tend to become entrepreneurs as the same rate as men do. However, there are resources out there that women can use to start their own businesses.
Resources for Female Entrepreneurs
- Business Funding for Women
One issue is that women don’t earn the same average wage as men. Females also tend to have less capital to start their companies. Getting startup money from traditional banks or venture capitalists is very tough. If a company has never borrowed money before, it won’t have a business credit score either.
Some new fintech startups have helped provide more funding to women entrepreneurs. These online lending platforms might not require traditional business credit reports and can verify a company entirely online. The gender of the business owner won’t factor into lending decisions. In the future, technology and alternative lenders may help more women get their companies started.
- Small Business Administration
The SBA collaborates with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership to provide essential resources for females who hope to start or grow their small business. This partnership can offer help with all sorts of matters. These include such topics as getting loans, applying for government contracts, and improving the way that existing companies operate.
Some other SBA partners offering such services as mentoring from experienced business owners, advocates for policy issues, and more. To get help, look online for SBA resources for women or visit a district office.
- The Government
The U.S. Government actually provides a lot of educational and networking opportunities for female business owners. For example, Grow Her Business, is a government-sponsored site that offers a variety of different resources that are directed towards female entrepreneurs.
This site is a project of the National Women’s Business Council, or NWBC. The NWBC was established as a federal organization that provides advice and counsel to the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Congress, and the President of the United States. This is a place to find resources to ideate, startup, scale, and grow a company.
- Local and Regional Resources
Some very useful resources may come from local or regional organizations. For example, many communities have female business networking groups. While it’s not possible to list all resources for all communities, it is possible to find some good places to start drilling down for more help. For example, the NWBC maintains a page with links to organizations that can help interested women find local support.
- American Business Woman’s Association
The American Business Woman’s Association, usually called the ABWA, was actually founded in 1949 by a female business owner in Kansas City. Since that time, the organization has expanded to hundreds of chapters and tens of thousands of members. At least one chapter can be found in each U.S. state.
The ABWA focuses on professional development, personal development, leadership, networking, and education. Women do not have to own their own business to join. While many women entrepreneurs do belong to an ABWA chapter, the association also attracts administrators and other working women. Interested women can learn more at the association’s website and the site also hosts an online learning portal.
Where Should Women Entrepreneurs Find Support?
Determined women with great ideas should feel encouraged to become entrepreneurs as there are many formal organizations that have already been established to help females run businesses. Really, the best place to begin may depend upon the particular type of support that an individual business owner might believe that she needs. It’s mostly important to realize that help exists and is actually very accessible.
It might even be a good idea to look around the community to find local women who already successfully run their own businesses and ask these female entrepreneurs to serve as mentors. Women are great at networking and often willing to lend a helping hand. Making use of all of the resources available can help womenpreneurs start and grow their small businesses.
This article was written by Jess Harris, the Head of Content and Social at Kabbage.
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