Top 21 Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
For women owned businesses, advocating for yourself is essential for success. Taking advantage of free resources is a great way to help leverage your business. Whether you have been in the business for fifteen years, or just starting out, you should take advantage of these educational and financial opportunities.
Getting your hands-on resources to help you improve your business can be difficult at times. However, there is nothing more inspiring than empowered women entrepreneurs. This article will guide female entrepreneurs from twenty-one different resources that can be used to benefit businesses.
Grants for Women is a hub that serves as a directory with A-Z grant program opportunities for women. They help liaise between women and grant distributors in order to connect business owners with the grants right for them. Grants for Women’s mission not only includes supporting women-owned business financially, but also stands against malpractice, bias, and unequal opportunity toward women in the business world.
2. Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC)
The AWBC is a nonprofit that has been around since 1998. They serve as a source for women-led businesses to access training programs, mentorship programs, financing opportunities, and business development. Additionally, they serve as a network of over 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBC). The AWBC helps over 140,000 female entrepreneurs every year through their career services and success opportunities.
3. Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation was created in 2004, after Tory Burch herself experienced the struggles that women encounter in the business realm. Years later, Tory Burch has partnered with different companies to strengthen the experience of women in business.
The Foundation has partnered with Bank of America through its Capital Program to provide access to affordable business loans. Compared to traditional small business loans, this is a great opportunity. Additionally, the Foundation has partnered with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program to provide women access to education and management resources. Lastly, the Foundation serves women with networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and lenders.
4. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has been serving women business owners since 1975. Their mission is to help propel women economically, socially, and politically into power. They use their voices to advocate positive change for diversity, inclusion, public policies, and opinions. Further, they serve as a strong network of affiliations, alliances, and coalitions that support women in business. Their efforts help promote economic development for women-owned businesses while integrating culture change. Membership with NAWBO includes access to networking events, conversations on entrepreneurship, and resources/tips to support work-life balance.
5. US Small Business Administration (SBA) for Women-owned Businesses
The SBA is a governmental agency that helps assist small businesses at the federal level. The Federal Government gives out grants through their Small Business Administration Program but also has a sector focussed on women. The SBA helps promote success for aspiring women entrepreneurs, and also helps existing businesses flourish. They provide an SBA loan program and also a lender match tool for finding capital through the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. The SBA strives to award at least five percent of their contracting dollars to disadvantaged businesses every year. The SBA has small business development centers all over the United States to help you assess which grants are right for you. Check out their website to visit your local Chamber of Commerce.
6. The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)
In 1988 the NWBC was signed into law by Ronald Regan and operates under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). By having a council to support women’s equality in the business world, they help impact decisions that affect women’s credit and ability to obtain capital at the public and private levels. They also help monitor and establish programs at the federal level that support female entrepreneurs. For women seeking to have their voices be heard, the NWBC serves as a resource to approach with any concerns. They will be sure to guide you in the right direction, as well as take action about your concerns.
7. Open Meadows Foundation
The Open Meadows Foundation is a way for women to gain financial help for small businesses or start-ups. They focus their efforts on improving the social and political conditions that have a history of restricting women in business. The foundation is passionate about women’s rights and engages in projects regarding voting rights, economic opportunities, and more. Additionally, they award grants that prioritize women and small business owners who have limited financial access. Grants are awarded to projects that align with their mission in amounts of $2000 or less.
8. The Girlboss Foundation
The Girlboss Foundation was established by a young woman Sophia Amoruso at the age of 22 after her Etsy shop exceeded $250 million dollars in revenue. Her way of giving back was to establish a foundation that would also encourage women entrepreneurs like herself. As a result, the foundation has awarded over $130,000 in grants. Grants are composed of $15,000 in funding, along with networking opportunities and career-building tools. The foundation focuses on businesses in the arts field such as fashion, design, music, etc.
9. Fedex Small Business Grant
Fedex awards many small business grants annually to help support business owners financially expand. Fedex’s 8th annual small-business contest has ended for 2020 but will continue in 2021. In 2020, they awarded over $250,000 in grant money to twelve different business owners. Fedex awards grants to both men and women, but this is a wonderful business resource for women to apply for nonetheless. Fedex has also awarded grant money to small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Their website has all the additional details on how to get your application process started. All business owners with less than $5 million in annual revenue are eligible to apply.
10. Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
The Cartier Women’s initiative Award’s are given out on an annual basis to women entrepreneurs. Since 2006, Cartier has focussed their awards on women-led businesses that encourage positive environmental and social impact. Their mission is to support women with capital to grow their business and enhance their leadership skills. Cartier awards women from all countries, has given out $3 million since 2006.
11. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
The Eileen Fisher Grant Program started in 2019 and has awarded $200,000 annually to non-profit organizations that focus on women’s rights and environmental activism. They have awarded grants in the amount of $10,000 to $40,000. The Eileen Fisher program focuses on supporting women-owned businesses that are beyond the startup period.
12. The Ms. Foundation for Women
The Ms. Foundation for Women is focussed on creating equality for women regardless of disability, age, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. The Foundation helps support women-led organizations that align with their mission to help create a powerful community of women. The Foundation has granted over $54 million in forty years.
13. New Voices Foundation
The New Voices Foundation is a nonprofit that works to support women entrepreneurs of color. The Foundation provides capital to women of color to help grow their businesses. New Voices also helps encourage networking opportunities, coaching, mentorship, online classes, and social media outreaches for women business owners.
New Voices has provided over $1.4 million dollars in non-dilutive capital. Having a foundation that provides non-dilutive capital instead of venture capital is also beneficial, and will help stretch your growth. In 2020 the Foundation awarded sixty grants through pitch competitions. The finalists of the competition were awarded between $5,000 and $25,000 in combination with coaching and mentorship opportunities.
14. Ladies Get Paid
Ladies Get Paid serves as a resource for women’s rights advocacy and equality. They serve as a network for women entrepreneurs with career guidance to help empower women in the workplace and ensure they get paid fairly. Through mentorship, meetups, conferences, corporate networking, webinars, and an online community, Ladies Get Paid supports women in many sectors.
15. The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Competition
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Competition helps select and recognize businesses from startups to fortune 500 companies with women who have high potential. Every year, twelve women are chosen and awarded with business guidance composed of mentorship, business strategies, and elite tips and tricks on obtaining the best capital sources.
16. Women’s Venture Fund
Since 1994, The Women’s Venture Fund has been helping women entrepreneurs by providing them with tools such as technical assistance, mentorships, advisory services, and even loans. Statistically, women have been shown to have less loan and funding opportunities than their male counterparts. WVF makes getting loans more accessible for women.
The WVF is a nonprofit that has helped launch over 3,200 small businesses and 17,000 firms. Their mission is to aid in the growth and expansion of women-owned businesses, and encourage other women entrepreneurs to share their stories.
17. 10,000 Small Businesses (Goldman Sachs)
Goldman Sachs provides a business program to those looking to start or grow their business. Graduates from the program have statistically shown a higher rate of growth than those outside the program. The 10,000 Small Businesses program helps those with business ideas grow in their education, networking, and access to capital. The program has helped grow over 9,700 businesses and increase small business revenue by $12 million.
18. Amber Grant
The Amber Grant has been awarding young businesswomen with grants since 1998. The nonprofit was built off the inspiration of a young girl who passed away before being able to fulfill her business plan. Every month, The Amber Grant awards one woman with $4,000. At the end of the year, all twelve women who were awarded throughout the year have a chance of earning $25,000.
19. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is a nonprofit which supports entrepreneurs and micro-businesses with resources that are typically only available to large corporations. Since 1981, NASE has focussed its efforts on giving small business owners access to benefits, experts, and consolidated buying power. NASE has helped over 27 million small business owners who were impacted by COVID-19.
20. American Association of University Women
Since 1881, The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been working to bridge the gap between gender inequality by supporting women in the workplace. With their efforts through education, advocacy, and financial assistance, they encourage female entrepreneurs to succeed. AAUW has provided $115 million in fellowships and grants to women throughout the United States and 150 different countries.
21. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council strives to enhance economic growth by supporting women-owned businesses. WBENC recognizes that women business owners face gender inequality and help provide resources to help them succeed. Through their application process, they certify women-owned businesses and provide them with resources to networking events, financial opportunities, councils, and ambassador programs. Through their certification process, they help women advance their business model.
Making the Most of Your Business
In a study conducted by American Express, there are 12.3 billion women-owned businesses in America. As a women-owned business, there are many obstacles and hurdles to overcome. Advocating for yourself doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of opportunities for you to take advantage of it. Whether it’s finances, mentorship, training, or leadership, these business resources are here to help bring your business to the next level. As the number of women-owned businesses continues to grow, consider taking steps to enhance your company’s success.
Financing Solutions Business Line of Credit
Most business owners are unaware of how hard it is to be approved for a business loan or a business line of credit with a bank until you actually get apply and get turned down. If you do not have collateral to back up your loan a traditional bank will not consider your application.
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