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Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Sometimes it feels like being a female small business owner is tantamount to tightrope walking between 2 skyscrapers–while blindfolded and handcuffed.
Sure, on paper, things are looking up for female entrepreneurs. As of 2017, over 11 million US firms were owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales.
Yeah, that’s progress. Major progress. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for women in business.
Despite leaps in gender equality, today’s small business environment is still hugely challenging for female entrepreneurs. Growing a business is hard.
Already, close to 90% of startups fail. Also, female-owned businesses are a vast minority, and these bold women face unique challenges businessmen will never have to face.
Limited access to venture capitalist (VC) funding, challenges to obtain small business loans, lack of a support group, struggles to be taken seriously, obligations to both family and business—no matter how much skill or hustle women bring to the table, the game is stacked against them.
If lenders and VCs were approaching funding fairly, they’d give male and female entrepreneurs equal access to capital—however, if they were approaching funding analytically, they should be giving women greater access to capital. Why?
Research shows that female-led private tech companies see a 35% higher return on investment—if venture-backed, they achieve a 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies.
Still, there aren’t many resources for female business owners dedicated to helping women succeed in small business.
Instead of hanging our heads and accepting the struggle, we dug deep to find some of the best game-changing resources for female small business owners.
Ladies, growing a business is still going to be wildly difficult, but these resources make female entrepreneurship much easier.
Sure, you can work hard and grind through the pitching process to find an investor, but realize that less than 3% of venture-capital-funded companies have female CEOs.
Those are pretty staggering odds. Plus, equity costs you a portion of your business forever. A loan, however, can be paid off in years.
We’re biased, but we recommend you turn to small business loans to finance your company—there are plenty of great options available to female entrepreneurs.
Accelerators are a terrific resource for female business owners. They provide entrepreneurs with incredible resources to get off the ground.
Mentors, money, networks—everything a startup needs to lay down roots and succeed. However, they’re notably difficult for female founders to join. That’s why we found some of the best accelerators focusing on women:
These aren’t the only accelerators for female entrepreneurs, so don’t limit yourself—but use this list as a starting place to see if you can find a program that’ll support you and your business’s unique needs.
Women have access to plenty of programs built to educate and empower female entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.
Women may already outnumber men in terms of higher education, but these resources are intended specifically for women building their own startups. Plus, their resources go far beyond education.
Starting a business is hard, but that’s not stopping the accelerating rate of women-owned startups popping up all across the US.
While these powerful resources for female business owners don’t necessarily remove the hurdles facing female entrepreneurs, they do provide you with the know-how and support to demolish barriers in your way.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.