Resources for Female Entrepreneurs | National Funding

Resources for Female Entrepreneurs | National Funding


Women-owned businesses are increasing more than ever before, and while it can be empowering to launch and run a company, it can also feel overwhelming. When you own a business, you wear a lot of hats. Some will match your skill sets, while others won’t be a perfect fit. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone as there are plenty of resources for women in business.

This International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting organizations that can help women-owned small businesses succeed. From financing to management skills, continuing education, networking, and more, these five organizations offer resources to address a variety of business needs.

Educational and Training Resources for Women Business Owners

Having the right support in a business can make all the difference. Here are some resources for female entrepreneurs to educate themselves on a wide range of business topics through online courses, training modules, coaching, certifications, and more.

Center for Women & Enterprise

For over 25 years, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) has been a nonprofit organization that was started to help women learn how to launch and grow a business. Members have access to technical assistance, business certifications, and educational opportunities, covering topics that range from legal considerations to business plans.

CWE holds events at locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and offers online courses and networking opportunities.

American Business Women’s Association

With chapters across the country, the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) offers leadership, education, and networking resources for women in business. The organization was started in 1949 to break down barriers for women in business during a time when it was socially unacceptable for women to pursue a career.

Today, members can take advantage of online courses, with topics that range from accounting to lean manufacturing. More than 5,000 meetings are hosted each year through regional chapters and conferences, which offer plenty of networking opportunities.

SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership

With thousands of locations across the country, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) established a Women’s Business Ownership division in 1979 to help female entrepreneurs by providing them with a variety of resources.

In local offices as well as online, women can take advantage of business training and counseling in finance, management and marketing. The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership also provides information and guidance for federal contract opportunities and access to credit and capital.

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) empowers women entrepreneurs through educational courses and programs. Their offerings include courses like “Financial Management for Women Entrepreneurs,” “Strategic Business Planning,” and “Leadership Development.” These initiatives aim to enhance skills vital for business success. WBENC serves women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds nationwide, offering certification, networking opportunities, and resources. WBENC fosters growth and fosters a supportive ecosystem for women in business across the United States.

Ladies Who Launch

Ladies Who Launch is a nonprofit on a mission to elevate and empower women and non-binary small business owners. The organization provides free education, resources, capital opportunities, networking, and a dedicated community to support like-minded female entrepeneurs. The organization was founded by the current CEO of Nextdoor and aims to provide resources to women business owners nationwide. Ladies Who Launch holds events in cities such as San Francisco, Denver, Toronto, Stockholm, and London.

Financial Resources for Female Entrepreneurs

There are many financial resources available to business owners who need capital to grow their business. Financing programs and grants are available to women business owners.

SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program offers financial support to small businesses by guaranteeing loans issued by participating lenders. Entrepreneurs can use these loans for various purposes, including starting a business, expanding operations, or recovering from disasters. SBA loans feature lower interest rates and longer repayment terms than conventional loans, making them accessible to small businesses. The SBA offers a variety of loan types to suit many business needs, including the general 7(a) loan, microloans, and SBA Express. To apply, businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria and provide collateral. The SBA’s role is to mitigate risk for lenders, encouraging them to extend credit to small enterprises, thus fostering economic growth.

Government Grants for Women Business Owners

Government grants for women business owners are available at the federal, state, and local levels, aiming to foster gender equality and support economic empowerment. The federal government, through agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA), offers grants such as SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research), STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer), and STEP (State Trade Expansion Program). SBIR and STTR fund innovative research and development projects, while STEP assists small businesses in expanding their export activities, helping women entrepreneurs access global markets.

Other Business Grants for Women

In addition to government programs, various women’s business organizations offer private grant opportunities. Some popular grants include the Amber Grant, Eileen Fearless Strivers Grant, and the FoundHer Program. These initiatives provide financial support and resources to women entrepreneurs, helping them overcome barriers and achieve success in their businesses.

Networking Resources for Women in Business

National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council was founded in 1988, after a landmark piece of legislation that elminated individual state laws requiring women to have a male relative or husband co-sign a business loan. It is a nonpartisan federal advisory committee serving as independent advice and recommendations to the President. It serves to act as a voice for women-owned businesses at the federal level.

International Association of Women (IAW)

The International Association of Women is dedicated to empowering women worldwide. With workshops, networking, and usable resources, IAW supports women personally and professionally on their entrepreneurship journey. Members have access to personal mentors, online courses, and more.

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce gives voice to the collective strength of women in the U.S. economy. It uses a platform of influence, innovation, and opportunity to work for its members and support their businesses. It offers certifications, networking opportunities, and personalized support for women business owners nationwide.

Mentorship and Business Growth Resources for Women-Owned Businesses

Here are some resources for female entrepreneurs to find business mentors and counselors to accelerate their growth journey.

National Association of Women Business Owners

As the largest dues-paying organization for women entrepreneurs, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) serves as a voice for female business owners. The organization has about 5,000 members and 60 chapters across the country.

Members have the chance to participate in leadership development opportunities. Resources include access to capital, information on government contracts and business certifications for women, and help with public relations.

Association of Women’s Business Centers

The Association of Women’s Business Centers is a national nonprofit focusing on economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women. The organization supports and sustains a national network of over 100 local women’s business centers. It partners with the SBA to reach female business owners that are economically disadvantaged. Local business owners can find networking events and courses through their local chapter.

Score For Women Entrepreneurs

Since 1964, SCORE has matched mentors with mentees to help entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses. While SCORE helps male and female entrepreneurs, it offers a resource section that highlights information and programs available for women business owners.

In addition to providing access to free mentors, SCORE offers live and recorded webinars as well as courses on demand. Topics range from how to use Amazon to grow your business to uncovering marketing trends. SCORE also offers networking opportunities at 300 events held across the country.

So whether you’re in need of networking opportunities, training webinars when you have some downtime or financing options for women, they’re all out there, you just need to know where to look. Taking advantage of these resources will help you take your business to the next level. And if you share what you learn, you’ll be helping other women-owned small businesses find success, too.