29 Resources for Female Entrepreneurs

Posted in Articles by Brent Butler

Flickr, SlideShare, The Body Shop -- these and countless other successful companies were founded by women. Startup founders used to be predominantly male, but today, about twice as many women start companies as men do. In the U.S., women launch 827 startups every day. And, according to First Round Capital, female-run startups create 63% more value for investors than male-run startups.

Unfortunately, men still get more funding. (Thanks, sexism.) In fact, women only get 30% of startup loans, 13% of angel investment dollars, and 2% of VC dollars. Historically, women haven’t had access to the capital and networking opportunities that men have.

Thankfully, that’s changing too. Today, there are startup accelerators, microloans, conferences, membership associations, and investor networks specifically devoted to female entrepreneurs. Here are almost 30 resources to help you build and sustain a successful business:

Advice for Women in Business

SCORE has webinars about funding opportunities, infographics, and other resources about female entrepreneurship. The National Women’s Business Council hosts regular Twitter chats with tips and advice. And if tweeting isn’t your thing, they also host public meetings.

Female Entrepreneur Associations & Conferences

The National Association of Women Business Owners offers business resources to members and hosts an annual conference. The American Business Women’s Association also hosts an annual conference, as well as an online career center where you can get job coaching, resume help, and apply for jobs.

Certifications for Women-Owned Businesses

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce provides certification to women-owned small businesses seeking government contracts. It also hosts meetings, events, and annual summits.

Networking

Women Who Startup is a Colorado-based network of female entrepreneurs that gathers for an annual summit. There’s also the BOSS Network, which stands for Bringing Out Successful Sisters, an organization for African American female entrepreneurs. The Female Entrepreneurs Association has an online networking community, as well as live webinars. Awesome Women Entrepreneurs hosts monthly networking gatherings. Female Founders Alliance is a network of, well, female founders who help each other through peer support, coaching, and funding.

Business Coaching and Workshops

The Women’s Startup Lab in Silicon Valley launched 4 years ago, and since then, nearly 100 women have completed the accelerator program, which includes bootcamps, workshops, and meetings with potential investors. The Small Business Administration also operates more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the country where you can receive business training and counseling.

Female-Focused Startup Incubator

Digital Undivided is a startup incubator for Black and Latina founders, providing training, networking, and access to funding.

Loans for Women-Owned Businesses

The Women’s Venture Fund gives loans to female-owned companies in the New York City area. Women Venture is an SBA lender that loans up to $50,000 to female entrepreneurs. There’s also Women’s Business Loans program, which loans up to $300,000 to companies with at least $75,000 in annual sales.

Crowdfunding

TheNextWomen is a network of female entrepreneurs who invest up to 10% of your total funding goal.

Investment Funding

SoGal Ventures invests in diverse or female-led startups in the U.S. from pre-seed to Series A. 37 Angels is a network of female seed investors who invest up to $150,000 into companies run by women and men alike. The Women’s Capital Connection, Golden Seeds, Belle Capital, The Refinery, and MergeLane are five more investment firms focused on female-led startups.

And if you’re in STEM, several investment groups focus solely on connecting women in tech with investors, including Springboard Enterprises, The Female Founders Fund, and Astia. Kapor Capital provides angel investment to startups in every sector as long as they’re tech-driven, with a focus on women and people of color.

Grants and Fellowships

For grant funding after the startup phase, there’s the Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. It awards $100,000 to up to 10 women each year. Companies that have been generating revenue for at least 2 years can apply to the Tory Burch Foundation’s Capital Program, which connects women with loans from community lenders. Tory Burch also offers annual fellowships, including a $10,000 grant.

I know I’m forgetting some, so share your favorites and continue the conversation with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Brent Butler is Masterplans’ founder and CEO.

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