If you think you're at a disadvantage as a female entrepreneur, think again. Dozens of organizations and programs have emerged in recent years to help women start and grow their own businesses. Taking advantage of the programs available can help you:
- Obtain seed money to get your venture off the ground
- Network with other women business owners
- Win bids for government contracts
- Find additional resources to assist you in starting or growing a venture
Locate a programWhether you're seeking a loan to expand your business, looking for discounts on business services, or hoping to find a mentor who can help you launch a new venture, there's a program for you.
Show me the moneyIf you're in need of cold, hard cash, you're in luck. Several programs provide women with seed money, micro loans, and even loans of up to $250,000.
SBA's Pre-qualification Loan Program allows women and minorities to pre-qualify for a 7(a) loan up to a maximum of $250,000 before going to a bank.
Make the mentoring and networking connectionFinding a mentor can increase your confidence and give you the knowledge you need to start a business. Networking can be equally invaluable as a way to promote and build your business.
Do business with Uncle SamAs a woman business owner, you actually have a leg up on the competition when bidding on lucrative federal contracts. However, before you can bid, you need to get certified as a woman-owned business.
Womenbiz.gov and download an application to get certified as a women business enterprise at the National Women Business Owner Corporation.
Get access to more business resourcesStarting and running a business doesn't require a Ph.D., but the more you know about business ownership, the better your chances of succeeding. Take advantage of the many programs available that offer resources to improve your know-how.
SBA Women's Business Centers and NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners).
- Don't feel like you're taking a "hand-out" by applying for a loan or using resources geared for women. If you don't take advantage of them, another woman business owner will.
- Before you join every women's organization you come across, take a little time to determine which ones will best help you achieve your goals.