More than $1.9 trillion in revenue, and 9.4 million workers contribute to the more than 13 million women-owned businesses across the United States. This data comes from the National Women’s Business Council’s 2019 annual report. These numbers are impressive — women entrepreneurship continues to be an important part of our economy.
Because of the unprecedented growth in women-owned businesses, and in celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month, we have compiled some helpful resources and explained some of the services women can find using these resources.
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What are some resources specifically geared toward supporting women-owned small businesses?
Women have historically struggled to find support as small business owners due to the fact that there have been, in the past, so few women-owned businesses. Over time, that has changed, and now there are a number of national organizations and government programs that serve women small business owners. These programs and organizations provide mentoring and financing opportunities, and lobby for legislation that supports women-owned small businesses.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) – The Business Guide for Women-Owned Businesses is one of the primary resources you should review whether you already have a business or are considering starting a business. This document provides business owners with a great deal of information on government contracts, funding opportunities and links to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), where business owners can obtain free guidance from retired businesspersons who have faced many of the same challenges.
- Association of Women’s Business Centers – There is a group of 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) across the United States that are geared towards helping you succeed. These business centers offer women information about business development, financing opportunities, and more. There is a membership fee that must be paid to get full access to all the information on their website, however, you can search for a WBC by state using the website at no cost.
- National Association of Women Business Owners – Since 1975, NAWBO has been advocating on behalf of women business owners. During the years since their founding, this association has been a strong advocate for women, including taking opportunities to form strategic alliances, advocating publicly through legislators on behalf of women business owners, and providing vital information to women business owners to allow them to continue to thrive.
Are there any funding opportunities for women entrepreneurs?
One challenge all women entrepreneurs face is that of securing funding. Whether it is expanding existing lines of credit, obtaining financing to launch their business, or finding the funds needed to grow their business, this is an ongoing problem for many. This is especially challenging during the pandemic, when funding may be needed to stay in business during a significant economic downturn. Here are several options for help with funding during these challenging times:
- Women’s Venture Fund – This non-profit organization is devoted to offering women-owned businesses in urban communities the support they need to succeed. Women’s Venture Fund offers advisory services, workshops, and small loans.
- 1-800Accountant + Rocket Lawyer – An accountant can help you determine if you qualify for the Disaster Loan Program under the CARES Act and help you prepare your Small Business Disaster Loan application through this unique partnership. Through this program, you can apply for a low-interest small business disaster loan of up to $2 million that is potentially forgivable.
- Opportunity Fund – Opportunity Fund is a non-profit organization providing funding to underserved small-businesses. Funding is provided through microloans to low- and moderate-income immigrants, people of color, and women.
Additional Helpful Resources
COVID-19 has devastated many businesses and more women-owned businesses have been impacted because many of them are service-based. Here are several resources to help women bounce back. Some of the currently available programs include:
- Open We Stand – Open We Stand is a website that offers a gathering place for small business support and resources during COVID-19. Small business owners gather here to share ideas for re-opening and staying open and safe during the pandemic.
- Tory Burch Foundation – The Tory Burch Foundation website has included a wealth of resources for women entrepreneurs since the start of the pandemic. From dealing with the childcare crisis to applying for loans, women will find a range of helpful resources to keep their business operating successfully despite the challenges they are facing.
- Rocket Lawyer – Whether your business needs contracts, help developing a human resources guide, or non-disclosure agreements, you can find a wealth of documents ready to be customized to meet the needs of your business. Rocket Lawyer also hosts a free COVID-19 Legal Center, where small business owners can find documents developed specifically for the business challenges brought on by COVID-19 and a free Ask a Lawyer service with help from volunteer on-call attorneys.
Whether you are a startup business, or you are working your way through the COVID-19 pandemic, your business represents an investment in your future. Women-owned businesses fuel the economic growth of many of our communities. Rocket Lawyer is here to help women entrepreneurs with their legal and business needs. If you should have a legal question, you can Ask a Lawyer to get the answers you need when you need them. Whether your question is about your legal responsibilities as a business owner, or you need information about a family law or estate planning matter, we are here to help.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.