Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
It’s no secret that women are opening businesses in record numbers. From small shops to high profile startups, 36% of all businesses in the United States are women-owned businesses; that’s roughly 10 million companies.
These links are provided for informational purposes only. Commerce does not endorse any of the organizations listed in these online resources. As always, do your own research before making a decision.
Business Ownership Guide for Female Entrepreneurs
The Delaware Inc/Harvard Business Services Marketing Team has put together an excellent resource guide for women entrepreneurs that includes starting a business, business structures, funding, web sites, business terminology, grants and many other bits of information beneficial to female entrepreneurs.
Millennial Women: The Future of Entrepreneurship in America
This publication by the National Women’s Business Council focuses on the role of millennial women as the future of independent entrepreneurship and how they are portrayed in the media. With new and growing methods of employment, these young women entrepreneurs have a bright and influential future.
Entrepreneurial Advice from Six STEM Women
Young women entrepreneurs interested in STEM can take a word of advice from these innovative women in business, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive
Women entrepreneurs often find themselves facing many unique challenges in the workplace, regardless of the industry they work in, they all share some commonalities. Learn more from the U.S. Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship about how women entrepreneurs are bridging the gender gap and succeeding in the business world.
The Growing Power of Women in Business
Learn about the importance of and power of women in the business world in this post by Daniel Burrus on The Big Think. These women are making a difference and impacting the future of women in entrepreneurship.
Advice from the Boldest Women in Business
Forbes Inc. columnist and Likable Media co-founder Carrie Kerpen is rocking the business world. Find out what this bold woman in business has to say in this HuffPost article.
Top 15 Young Female Entrepreneurs and Their Rising Companies
These women are making their mark and building influential companies that may inspire future female entrepreneurs. (via Under30CEO)
Readers’ Advice for Young Women in the Workplace
The New York Times offers a wealth of advice to women interested in breaking into business for themselves.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) is designed to encourage businesses to engage in research and development, particularly those with potential for commercialization. You can search for open grants for women in business on the SBIR search platform. Also a list of local Women’s Business Centers (WBCs).
SBA 7(a) Loan Program
The Small Business Administration also offers loans to small businesses that demonstrate a need for funding. You can check out their eligibility requirements and other loan terms on their website.
National Women’s Business Council
A non-partisan federal advisory council that advocates in government, publishes research, and holds events in its DC headquarters, the NWBC also maintains a site containing topics of importance to women business owners. In addition to its interesting fact sheets, NWBC published its annual report, 10 Million Strong: The Tipping Point for Women’s Entrepreneurship.
SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
In addition to the InnovateHER annual competition, the Small Business Administration’s OWBO offers resources like a national Women’s Business Centers Directory and government procurement opportunities and training.
Women Impacting Public Policy
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.
The following grants are open at various times throughout the year. Please check their website for applications and deadlines.
Women’s Funding Alliance
The Women’s Funding Alliance vision is for all women and girls to have the opportunity to live, lead and thrive. Their mission is to advance leadership and economic opportunity for women and girls in Washington State. They accomplish this by making the case, driving solutions and mobilizing people to make change.
The Amber Grant Foundation awards $500 to a female entrepreneur each month. One of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $1,000 each year. The application is simple and requires a $7 application fee. The advisory board looks for women with passion and a good story.
Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation offers female entrepreneurs affordable loans by connecting women with community lenders It is open to businesses operating for at least two years that have a satisfactory credit rating.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards may fit your needs. The winner receives $20,000 in funding and one year of coaching as well as access to an array of networking opportunities. To participate, submit your business proposal online. Finalists fly to France to present their business plans and projects in front of a panel. That alone makes it an attractive award opportunity.
FedEx Think Bigger Small Business Grant Program
The FedEx program, Think Bigger program is held annually. It has a public voting component to it, giving you a good marketing opportunity as well.
Idea Café Small Business Grant
The Idea Café has different kinds of grants sorted by type, award amount and the targeted demographic.
- 50 Sources of Funding for Women Entrepreneurs by Melinda Briana Epler
- Girl meets Money: 50+ Resources for the Female Entrepreneur by Catherine Ellen
The SBA’s: Women’s Business Center
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers women entrepreneurs a variety of resources based on the location of their business. Find state-specific business resources all in one convenient resource.
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIIP)
WIPP is a political organization made up of driven, innovative women interested in making a big difference in the political landscape. Women business owners may choose to take advantage of the resources and join WIPP to better their community.
Association of Women’s Business Centers
AWBC offers a variety of resources, webinars, and development tools for women entrepreneurs. From business planning to lasting success and spreading one’s influence, they make learning about business management more accessible for women.
Black Women in Business
The Africa-America Business Mix (AABM) is an organization dedicated to motivating and supporting strong black women to succeed in the business world.
Washington Center for Women in Business
The Washington Center for Women in Business has a mission is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed in business by providing coaching, training, and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics. The WCWB Business Coaches are dedicated to helping the Womanpreneur see her business goals realized. The WCWB offers entrepreneurial training programs, workshops, one-on-one counseling, coaching and special events to women in all stages of business development. Using in-person, phone, and web-based delivery methods, the WCWB provides services throughout most of the State of Washington.
International Women’s Forum
IWF is an invitation-only, membership organization comprised of more than 6,500 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations on six continents. IWF is dedicated to building better leadership locally and globally. IWF’s charitable arm, the Leadership Foundation, supports high-potential women through leadership development programs – the Fellows Program and the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Mentoring Program.
National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
You’re bound to find a local chapter of the National Association for Women Business Owners in just about every major city in the country. With membership you will gain access to a resource center that includes a links to funding sources as well as business certification programs, local networking opportunities and customized training.
Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC)
The Women’s Business Development Council offers programs for women at every stage of business ownership, from startups to established businesses. It also hosts the annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference and Technology Makeover Competition. Other services include capital programs, courses and workshops.
U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
The Women’s Chamber of Commerce offers training, access to resources, business certification, retirement planning and lobbying.
Three Tips for Women Entrepreneurs
This video from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative features three key tips for women entrepreneurs. Daphne Koller, the co-founder of Coursera speaks to women entrepreneurs in search of guidance and advice.
Women in Business
TED Talks presents a variety of videos featuring and about women in business. Watch and learn from these successful women entrepreneurs.
Being a Female Entrepreneurship Can Be Lonely: This Woman is Changing That
There is a growing and supportive network out there for women entrepreneurs. Find out how this innovative entrepreneur is helping women entrepreneurs. (via Entrepreneur)
Business Ideas for Undecided Women Entrepreneurs
Tips for women entrepreneurs on coming up with a new business idea from The Balance.
Young Women’s Alliance
Connect with young women entrepreneurs and empower other women in business.
Women/Entrepreneur provides resources that motivate female entrepreneurs and inspiring women and girls around the world to start, run and grow their businesses. Resources include online resources, networking events, one on one mentoring, and insight and tips from successful female entrepreneurs.
The Pink Ceiling
The Pink Ceiling, a cross between a VC firm, a ‘pinkubator’ and a consulting enterprise, is an early-stage investment fund run by a team of women. Their mission is—unapologetically—all about the money. From that idea came the Pinkubator—The Pink Ceiling’s in-house startup incubator that puts female-led and focused companies in the room with female success stories in the biz. It is a membership service for women-led or women-focused entrepreneurial businesses looking for networking and mentorship.
Female Founders Alliance
The Seattle Female Founders Alliance is a private community of female startup founders and CEOs. Their mission is to meaningfully improve the percentage of venture capital invested in, and subsequent success rate of, female-founded startups in Washington. Their approach includes helping each other succeed and doing it at scale through connecting, amplifying, and referring every founder that joins their community.
EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™
Ernst & Young’s program helps women-owned businesses with $2 million in revenue or above scale quickly. It’s a national competition and executive leadership program that includes year-round education, networking, and events.
The Boss Network
BOSS® is a networking platform and membership organization, primarily for African American women entrepreneurs and professionals. Forbes.com named the BOSS Network one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women.
Ellevate is a national, membership-based network for women in business that offers educational and career-building opportunities to members, including a member directory and online content.
Savor the Success
Savor the Success is an all-online business school, community center, and wellness lifestyle hub for women entrepreneurs, makers and creators. Basic and premium memberships are available.
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.
Women 2.0 is focused primarily on women in technology. Its blog network offers a platform for female entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and innovators and the site connects business owners with conferences, startup competitions, city meet-ups and online investor hangouts.
Even though it doesn’t focus solely on women-owned businesses, Lean In offers an excellent support and resources community for women as well as a library of free lectures.
Women in Technology International
Women in Technology International provides women in technology with access to support from other professionals in the industry as well as educational resources.
Women Who Launch
Part-community, part-incubator, Women Who Launch has programs available across North America. The goal is to empower women to engage with entrepreneurship, as founders, funders, or team members.
Local and Industry-Specific Groups
Every major metropolitan area has women-led business support groups. A good place to start is MeetUp.com. You can also perform searches online for local business groups or networking organizations in your area.