Resources for Women Owned Small Businesses: Organizations, Opportunities & Publications

Since 1972, the number of women owned in the United States has grown to 42% — a total of nearly 13 million — from just 4.6%. Firms owned by women of color grew at a rate of 43% from 2014 to 2019 alone, according to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report published by American Express.

These new businesses are most often founded by people aged 35 to 54 who are likely to have more work experience in a variety of contexts, and possibly prior experience running small businesses.

As October comes to a close and in honor of  Women’s Small Business month, below are a few resources geared towards women small business owners, defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Organizations

Small Business Administration

Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.

Small Business Development Corporation

The SBA administers the Small Business Development Center Program to provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners offering free face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training, on topics including business planning, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance, technology development, international trade and much more.

National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council was established as part of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 as an advisory body of women business owners to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the Administrator of the SBA, Congress, and the President on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

National Association of Women Business Owners

Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by strengthening the wealth creating capacity of members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community, creating innovative and effective change in the business culture, building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations, transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers.

National Association for Female Executives

The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) was founded in 1972 and is one of the largest women’s professional associations in the United States. The organization has a rich history of providing education, networking, and public advocacy to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security. Members are women executives, professionals, business owners and others who are committed to NAFE’s mission: the advancement of women in business.

Minority Business Development Agency

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to fostering the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority business enterprises.

“According to U.S. Census Bureau, the number of minority-owned small businesses in the U.S. is growing much faster than the overall small business growth rate. But, despite their growth rate, minority-owned firms are still having a much harder time accessing capital,” says Henry Childs II, MBDA National Director.  “MBDA is committed to getting more minority-owned businesses growth capital through forward thinking investments like the Minority Growth Equity Fund initiative.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Founded in 1912 in reponse to President William Howard Taft’s, in a message to Congress addressing the need for a “central organization in touch with associations and chambers of commerce throughout the country,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Grants & Opportunities

Grants.gov

The Grants.gov program management office was established in 2002 as a part of the President’s Management Agenda. The office was chartered to deliver a system that provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. Today, the Grants.gov system houses information on over 1,000 grant programs and vets grant applications for federal grant-making agencies.

InnovateHER Grant

The Small Business Association, or SBA, is responsible for the InnovateHER Challenge. InnovateHER provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. to showcase products and services that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, have the potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace. The challenge goes back to 2015, and grants three InnovateHER Challenge awards ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

These contracts are for industries where women-owned small businesses (WOSB) are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). To qualify, your business must be at least 51 percent owned by one or more women. You’ll also need to go through a self-certification process.

WANTO Grant Program

The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant helps to expand pathways for women to enter and lead in all industries. In 2019, the WANTO grant program awarded $1,492,515 to three community-based organizations to increase women’s employment in apprenticeship programs and nontraditional occupations.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

The FedEx Small Business Grant is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have fewer than 99 employees and have been in operation selling a product or service for not less than six (6) months at the start of the contest. It’s a grant contest with 10 small business winners.

Cartier Women’s Inititative

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards seek to advance female entrepreneurs across the world. Seven laureates will receive $100,000, fourteen finalists will be awarded $30,000. All will receive personalized business coaching prior to awards week, media visibility, and a scholarship to attend the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship 6-Day Executive Program.

Open Meadows Foundation

Open Meadows Foundation funds projects that do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual identity and expression, age or ability. The grants are biannual awards of $2,000 to organizations with operating budgets of less than $75,000. Preference is given to small and start-up organizations.

The Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant is an annual grant awarded to an exceptional jewelry designed working in silver. The grand prize is a $7,500 cash grant plus other benefits. The deadline is August 1st.

Jim Moran Institute Small Business Executive Program

Through learning the Business Model Canvas, graduates emerge as stronger leaders, who are ready to capitalize on business opportunities, implement best practice management, and turn challenges into strategic advantage.

Tuck-WBENC Executive Program

The Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, brought to you by IBM, is a six-day intensive experience focused on WBE skill development to increase business capacity, operations, and leadership. Participants examine their businesses as case studies throughout the week and apply core business concepts through real-world applications.

Business Publications

Small Business Trends

Founded in 2003 by Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends spotlights small businesses and features a community of small business owners who learn from each other.

Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal was founded by Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser primarily to cover business and financial news. The first issue was published on July 8, 1889.

Fortune

Henry Robinson Luce founded Fortune magazine in 1929 in the wake of the Great Depression and the death of Yale classmate Briton Hadden, with whom he cofounded Time magazine and the Time-Fortune Corporation (later Time Incorporated) in 1922.

Bloomberg

In 1981 Michael Bloomberg founded the company that became Bloomberg LP (originally named Innovative Market Systems). Initially, the company sold computer terminals to Wall Street investment banks that included financial data about stocks, bonds, and other investments. Bloomberg News is known for providing business and economic news to investors.


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to also read “13 Essential Digital Marketing Resources for Small Business Owners.” You can also contact me for a complimentary consult.

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