Sign up for Funding Circle newsletter!
Get our latest news and information on business finance, management and growth.
Updated: September 10th, 2020
Help comes in a multitude of forms, from financial support to personal encouragement. The following resources offer funding, mentorship, information, or networks to female entrepreneurs and women business owners across the United States. Many of these organizations offer a combination of resources for female entrepreneurs. While some target companies in particular growth stages, others offer advice and support for women professionals at large. Whether you need financing, a community, or some practical advice, you’ll find the support you need in one of these resources for female entrepreneurs.
“Helps women start businesses and helps existing ones grow”
Organized by WomensNet in 1998, the Amber Grant Foundation awards $10,000 to a female entrepreneur each month. One of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000 each year. The application is very simple and requires a $15 application fee. The foundation’s advisory board looks for women with passion and a good story.
“A global community dedicated to the success of women-led, high-growth ventures”
Astia is a non-profit founded in 1999 that works to identify and invest in high-potential women-owned startups through a review system based on personal referrals. The organization operates globally with locations in SF, London, and NYC.
“We support leadership programs for women and girls, women-owned businesses and local communities”
Clothing retailer Eileen Fisher awards $100,000 to between 5 and 10 women business owners each year. Eligible businesses must be focused on environmental or social change, in operation for at least three years, and not exceed $1 million in annual revenue.
“Identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it”
Ernst & Young’s program helps women-owned businesses with $2M in revenue or above scale quickly. It is a national competition and executive leadership program that includes year-round education, networking, and events, including two mandatory meetings in California in the fall.
“A cross-cutting prize competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families”
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hosts an annual competition for businesses that benefit women. Finalists in the InnovateHER Challenge win between $10,000 and $40,000.
“Broadening the on-ramp for women-run companies”
MergeLane is a startup accelerator for companies with at least one woman in leadership. Headquartered in Boulder, CO, MergeLane’s program runs from February to April and culminates in a final event that showcases participant companies to investors and the community. Applications are open in the fall.
“Where women raise money”
Plum Alley Investments is a private membership that offers the opportunity to influence innovation and shape the future by investing in private companies. The goal is simple: get capital to the most promising women entrepreneurs and provide a powerful experience and return to the women and men who invest in them. Plum Alley offers members selected equity and debt opportunities to invest in private companies along with custom experiences both on-line and off-line to collaborate, imagine and transform the world.
“Investing in the exponential power of exceptional female talent”
Female Founders Fund is an early-stage fund investing in companies led by women. Focusing on e-commerce, web-enabled products and services, marketplaces, and platforms, their portfolio companies all share one things in common: each is led by talented female founders with disruptive and innovative ideas that better serve their consumer.
“Be Exceptional. Be Extraordinary. Be the Impact.”
An unconventional accelerator in Silicon Valley, WSLab was founded by a Japanese entrepreneur in 2013. It offers two-week and two-month programs emphasizing coaching and leadership development in addition to company growth for all-female and mixed-gender startup teams. The on-site programs cost upward of $10K, but scholarship and matching programs may mitigate the cost.
“Bringing Out Successful Sisters”
BOSS® is a networking platform and membership organization for primarily African American women entrepreneurs and professionals. Forbes.com named the BOSS Network one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women and 10 Best Career Sites for Women. A lifetime membership comes at a one-time cost of $299.
“Empowering women in technology and business”
The public face of Dell’s program is organized around the LinkedIn group Women Powering Business Network, a community of over 5,000 members who keep up to date on local events.
“Invest in women”
Ellevate is a national, membership-based network for women in business. It offers educational and career-building opportunities to members in the form of content, a social network and member directory, and local chapter events. Membership dues run between $10 and $100 per month.
“The School for Women Entrepreneurs™”
Hello Fearless is an educational platform that offers online courses, mentorship, and community among women business owners and supporters. Its educational arm, the exclusive Boss School, offers 90-day courses for accepted applicants.
“Advisors to the President, Congress, and the SBA”
The NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory council that advocates in government, publishes research, and holds events in its DC headquarters and online around topics of importance to women business owners. In addition to its interesting fact sheets, NWBC published its 2015 annual report, 10 Million Strong: The Tipping Point for Women’s Entrepreneurship. The report provides 48 pages of data and insights on the current state of female entrepreneurship, largely based on a comprehensive 2012 study.
“Success + Community + Life”
A division of the Savor lifestyle brand, Savor the Success is an all-online business school, community center, and wellness lifestyle hub for women entrepreneurs, makers and creators. Basic membership is free, while additional features require a premium membership.
“To enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support”
In addition to the InnovateHER annual competition, the Small Business Administration’s OWBO (founded in 1979) offers resources like a national Women’s Business Centers Directory and government procurement opportunities and training.
“Connecting women’s enterprises with market opportunity”
WEConnect International is a global, membership-based nonprofit that connects women-owned businesses, from suppliers to retailers, across the world. It has over 5,000 members in almost 100 countries. Annual membership fees range from $5K to $35K.
“The Voice for Women in Business in our Nation’s Capital”
WIPP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization focused on advancing the causes of women and minorities in business in government, as well as educating women about legislation that affects their businesses. Recent programs include Export N.O.W. (New Opportunities Worldwide) for encouraging small businesses to export and ChallengeHER for federal contracting. Annual membership fees run between $125 and $1,000.
“Understands and leverages the unique value proposition that women provide”
The Vinetta Project supports high-growth tech companies founded by women via the Vinetta Collective, the first talent agency dedicated to the rise of tech’s top female founders, and Vinetta Chapters, 7 centers across the U.S. and Canada that offer education, networking, and funding events.
“Career – Lifestyle – Wellness – Connections”
BusinessWoman Magazine is a lifestyle and business magazine for “educated and established professional women” published monthly. Recent online editions are available for free; an annual subscription costs $14.
“An online platform for female entrepreneurs”
ChicCEO is a multi-functional online resource for women business owners, including a free 3-day email course, blog, podcast, and useful templates for business.
“Leadership empowerment for women who mean business”
Diversity Woman has a membership forum and annual conference in addition to its magazine focused on diverse and multicultural women in business.
“The voice of women entrepreneurs”
Enterprising Women Magazine is funded by the Enterprising Women Foundation (EWOF), a nonprofit aiming to support women entrepreneurship, mainly through mentorship. A sample issue of the magazine is $5; subscriptions vary between $15-25.
“Resources for business owners and entrepreneurs”
Ladies Who Launch is a website with free resources, from stories to templates, for women entrepreneurs.
“The digital magazine for female entrepreneurs”
Lioness Magazine exists to help female entrepreneurs launch and grow startups. It publishes articles online about leadership, lifestyle, marketing, money, news, and technology.
“We have a BIG VISION we call “Entrefeminism™”
Savvy Biz Women Magazine is a digital lifestyle and business publication, launched in 2013, that offers content on a bi-monthly basis. An annual subscription costs $19.99.
“Celebrating, supporting & connecting women entrepreneurs”
She Owns It is a free blog and event listing site for women entrepreneurs. It encourages guest posts and advertising from among the community.
“WE Inspire. WE Promote. WE Inform.”
WE Magazine for Women is a digital business and lifestyle magazine founded in 2006 that offers business and lifestyle tips for women entrepreneurs and business owners.
“We Tell Your Story”
WE USA is a print and digital publication that supports the national Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) supplier development initiative. It was founded in 1992 and won an award in 2002 from Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Samantha Novick is a senior editor at Funding Circle, specializing in small business financing. She has a bachelor's degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Prior to Funding Circle, Samantha was a community manager at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Her work has been featured in a number of top small business resource sites and publications.