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Game-changing resources for female business owners

Expansion

Game-changing resources for female business owners

resources-female-business-owners

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.

Ditch the VCs—go after small business loans and grants for women

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.

  • SBA loans: The Small Business Administration (SBA) doesn’t discriminate when lending, but they’re focused on helping women in business secure more financing. The 7(a) is a flexible, popular SBA loan offered to borrowers who are committed to helping women and minorities. It’s a great place to start looking for a loan.
  • Small business grants for female entrepreneurs: When it comes to financing, grants are the Holy Grail. Different from a loan or credit card, a grant is free money. Free, as in you don’t have to pay it back. So, naturally, they’re very competitive. But there are a variety of small business grants with their own strict, unique requirements, so you just might qualify.
  • Business line of credit: A business line of credit is a must for any business. For female small business owners, you’ll be happy to know it’s an easy source of extra capital. Easy to apply, easy to qualify. Basically, a line of credit gives you access to the cash you need, when you need it, and it can be used on practically anything. You don’t have to use it, but if you do, you only pay interest on the funds you use—not the full amount. It’s a nice-to-have flexible safety net you can keep in your pocket for when you need it.

Join female-founder accelerators

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.

Female entrepreneur educational programs

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.

  • NAWBO Institute: Provides access to online virtual classes that allow women to work on their own schedules to learn best practices, network, and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Women’s Business Centers: There are more than 100 of these centers spread across the US focused on helping female founders learn to operate a business, secure financing, and create networks.
  • Ellevate: Offers educational and career-building opportunities to women in business. Also provides access to its member directory and social network to help women make valuable connections.

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.

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Tags: Expansion

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