October is National Women’s Small Business Month, which means it’s time to recognize women-owned businesses everywhere, as well as the outstanding progress female entrepreneurs have made over the years. Here are some creative ways to celebrate and support female entrepreneurship.
How to celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month
1. Share exciting facts about women in business.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women-owned small businesses throughout the U.S. In 2019, before the pandemic started, 28% of new business owners were female. Two years later, that percentage increased to 49% as of 2021, according to Gusto. This influx of women-owned small businesses signifies an upward trend, encouraging more underrepresented groups to pursue their own business ventures.
Most articles about women in business (especially in STEM fields) focus almost exclusively on inequality and harassment, rather than on success, progress, opportunity or resilience. In celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month, consider sharing some positive facts about women in business on your social media. After all, the best way to inspire young women to go into business is by encouraging them with success stories.
Share your own story of female entrepreneurship, especially in online business communities. Young women need to see business ownership as a viable option, which often means having visible role models.
2. Get certified as a woman-owned business.
If you’re a female entrepreneur and want to throw your hat into the ring for government contracts, now is the perfect time to get certified as a woman-owned business. The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program helps female business owners get a fair shot at government contracts, and the more businesses compete, the better. You can create a profile now and see if you qualify for the program. Once certified, you need to change your profile status to let government organizations know you’re eligible for work.
3. Volunteer or become a mentor.
If you’re a thriving female entrepreneur, consider giving back by either volunteering with organizations that support women in business or becoming a mentor. Nonprofit organizations like the well-known Big Brothers Big Sisters of America are great places to start, but you can also begin at work or by joining an online community.
Adding your voice to those of other business owners might not seem groundbreaking, but representation matters, even if it’s online. The more visible female business owners there are, the likelier young women will go into business for themselves. Whether you’re a CEO with hundreds of reports or a small-cottage business owner working part-time hours from home, your voice can make a difference.
4. Invest and donate to help women in business.
If you’re too short on time to get into mentorship or advocacy, you can support women-owned small businesses by investing, donating or patronizing.
There are many causes that help underprivileged women go into business for themselves, like Kiva, which allows individuals to microlend directly to female entrepreneurs worldwide. If you have access to larger amounts of capital, consider going the full venture capital route and investing directly in small women-run businesses.
There are also nonprofits that empower women to achieve financial independence, like Dress for Success, which helps women in need get appropriate attire for interviews and navigate the professional world with confidence. Nontraditional Employment for Women is another great charity, helping women enter trade careers that pay well and do not require degrees – and in which women are vastly underrepresented. The Center for Women & Enterprise helps women in the United States start their own businesses by providing them with valuable guidance, access and resources.
Of course, before donating to these or any other charities, check them out on Charity Navigator to know how efficient and transparent they are. If you want to raise extra awareness for National Women’s Small Business Month, consider starting a fundraising campaign on Facebook for an organization that supports women in the workforce.
5. Network with other women in business.
Even if you’re not a small business owner, this month is a great time to connect with women in your field and build meaningful connections. Professional meetups, as well as established local business groups, can help women in various fields find like-minded peers.
Larger organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National Association for Female Executives, American Business Women’s Association and National Women’s Business Council all host events and help connect women with similar business interests. You may also want to reach out to your local branch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, even though it isn’t a female-specific organization, as it is the largest small business advocacy group in the country. Attending a few local events may help you meet other female entrepreneurs.
6. Explore resources for women entrepreneurs.
It may feel daunting and even a bit intimidating to start a small business from the ground up, especially if you don’t have a degree or business training. However, there are several organizations and agencies that can provide women small business owners with education, training and resources.
The Association of Women’s Business Centers is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and training to women small business owners throughout the U.S. The organization has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which has over 100 Women’s Business Centers across the country. This organization is an excellent resource for women who want to gain more knowledge in the field of business. It also gives aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to create new connections and network with other like-minded individuals.
Several other nonprofits, agencies and organizations around the country offer even more resources to women in business. These include the National Association of Women Business Owners and the National Women’s Business Council. If you are a female small business owner, conduct your own research and take advantage of the various resources available.
7. Create promotions for National Women’s Small Business Month.
Promotions are a great way for other small businesses to support National Women’s Small Business Month. If you own a business, create a promotion where a percentage of the proceeds will help organizations sustain women-owned small businesses. Create an enticing offer to customers, as well as an online landing page for that promotion. Advertise the offer on your website and social media accounts.
When creating an online marketing promotion for women-owned businesses, be sure to let your followers know what they will be contributing to, and encourage them to share the promotion with their own followers.
8. Uplift female entrepreneurs on social media.
Whether or not you own a small business, uplifting female entrepreneurs on social media is an easy and effective way to show your support during National Women’s Small Business Month. Show women-owned small businesses you care by sharing their content with your followers. Share one of their posts on your Instagram account, make a video about how great you think their brand is on TikTok or send their account to your closest friends. Choose your favorite platform and get creative.
Sean Peek contributed to the writing and reporting of this article.