Women’s history month passed last month, but we didn’t want to keep these great resources for female entrepreneurs to ourselves! Female business owners are finding it easier to navigate the business world and here is our contribution to the resources available to help them find success along the way!
Women entrepreneurs are more optimistic than ever this year with 92% of female entrepreneurs agreeing that the “stage is set for even more women to launch their businesses,” said the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), but not without some obstacles. According to Web.Com and NAWBO, one of the biggest obstacles women led businesses are facing in 2014 is access to capital.
Fortunately, there are many ways women-owned businesses are overcoming this obstacle. Below are five options that provide women-owned small businesses with assistance to get access to capital. Some of these resources are regional, but they can give you a good idea of what to look for when you’re looking locally.
- SBA Loans: The SBA offers a variety of loan programs for many different needs. According to the Urban Institute, SBA loans are three to five times more likely to go to women than non-SBA loans. Whether you’re looking at General Small Business Loans: 7(a), Real Estate & Equipment Loans: CDC/504, or Microloans, the SBA can help your business. There are also SBA backed venture capital programs including the PRIME program and the SBIC program.
- Business USA’s Access Financing Wizard: By using the Access Financing Wizard, female business owners will receive lists of loan programs, financing resources, and information for local lenders based off of their business profile. It is a great way to find loans and grants that may be available to your business.
- Women’s Initiative for Self Employment: This non-profit organization provides business education and financing to high-potential, low-income women. In order for women to have access to one-on-one consultations, networking events, seminars, and business loans they must complete the SIMPLE STEPS business management course. This 11-week course teaches female entrepreneurs how to write a business plan, analyze the competition, price a product or service, keep accurate records and manage finances, and business promotion, among other skills. Completion of this course will allow female business owners to apply for a loan of up to $25,000, as well as apply for Individual Development Accounts.
- Big Banks – Wells Fargo and PNC: Wells Fargo has pledged to lend a cumulative $55 billion to female business owners by 2020 and PNC loans nearly $1 billion dollars annually on average, to female business owners. Both banks feature women-centered lending programs for business owners. These two traditional lenders are definitely viable options for female business owners looking to partner with big banks.
- Opportunity Fund: Opportunity Fund is the largest non-profit microfinance lender in California and has been helping small businesses find funding since 1995. They have invested over $200 million locally in California with 51% percent of their loans going to woman-owned businesses.
We’ve only listed 5 resources for exploring loan options, and we know that there are many more options out there. You can get more general funding information exploring the rest of our Access to Capital site.
If you’ve experienced success working with an alternative loan provider, feel free to share your story below.
Want to Learn More?
Here are some additional links you might find helpful:
- Take Advantage of Diversity Programs to Build Your Business
- Growing Businesses Across the US
- 5 Reasons Why Women-Owned Businesses Are Thriving
- 5 National Groups for Women in Business
- Alternatives to Small Business Loans for Women
Photo Credit: Damian Gadal,Flickr