The Women-owned small business information center includes resources, information and links to assist women with starting or growing their small business. The positive effect that women-owned businesses have on the economy cannot be overstated: according to the 2020 Annual Report authored by the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned businesses represented an estimated 42% of all U.S. businesses (nearly 13 million), employed 9.4 million workers, and generated $1.9 trillion in revenue in 2019.
You can also receive free professional business advice and free or low-cost training from your local Small Business Development Center!
Federal Resources for Women-Owned Small Businesses
- Women and Small Business – resources, programs and guides dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs from the SBA
- Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program – government contracts for industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented
- Contracts for Women-Owned Small Businesses – eligibility requirements, checklist and guidance from the GSA to take advantage of women-owned small business programs
- Women’s Business Center – directory of 122 Women’s Business Centers throughout the U.S., funded by the SBA and offering small business assistance to women entrepreneurs
Federal Contracting Update: The Biden administration has recently announced major reforms to federal contracting spending for women-owned businesses with the intent to make contracting opportunities more equitable. In past years, women-owned businesses have received less than 5% of available federal-contracting dollars; women-owned businesses run by racial minorities have often received even less. Fiscal year 2022 will look different from previous years, though: the government spending goal for small disadvantaged businesses, which includes businesses run by women, is set at 11 percent. This is part of an initiative to reach an overarching goal of 15 percent by 2025.
Women-Owned Small Business Associations and Organizations
- Association of Women’s Business Centers – provides women business owners and entrepreneurs with a variety of support and services, including help in securing rounds of venture capital
- Awesome Women Entrepreneurs – national organization for female professionals to connect to one another in and connect with fellow businesswomen about business and daily entrepreneur life
- The BOSS Network – female empowerment alliance dedicated to highlighting women and creating opportunities for growth
- Catalyst – non-profit membership organization building inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women in business
- The Committee of 200 – advances women’s leadership in business by offering current leaders access to unique programming as well as a professional and personal network of peers
- Graham & Walker – organization that focuses on accelerating venture-scale female founded companies
- Lean In – one of the largest networks for helping women find their niche and build their strengths in a variety of disciplines
- National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. – promotes and protects the interests of African-American women business owners and professionals through community service and social activism
- National Association of Women Business Owners – advises on issues of impact and importance to women entrepreneurs and business owners
- National Women’s Business Council – federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations on economic issues of importance to women business owners.
- National Women Business Owners Corporation – certifier of WBEs and provides national certification for women and veteran-owned companies
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council – provides access to a national standard of certification and provides information on certified women’s businesses to purchasing managers through an Internet database
- Women’s Business Exchange – organization providing networking, professional education, leadership training, mentoring, and exposure to community issues
- Women Construction Owners & Executives USA – organization that promotes the growth of female owners and executives in the construction industry through publicity, education, advocacy, and business services
- Women in Technology International – mission to empower women worldwide through technology
- Women Presidents’ Organization – non-profit membership organization for women presidents of multimillion-dollar companies
- U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce – independent organization that provides resources and advocacy for women business owners
Financial Resources for Women-Owned Small Businesses
Grants for Women-Owned Small Business
- Grants for Women Business Owners – guide from American Express on finding and applying to grants
- Grants for Women – listing of opportunities for women across industries
- Amber Grant – grants for women entrepreneurs launched by WomensNet
- SoGal’s Black Founder Startup Grant – venture capital fund offering cash grants to businesses run by black women
- Cartier Women’s Initiative – grants for women entrepreneurs heading companies with significant potential growth
- Eileen Fisher – grants for women with focus in the areas of environmental justice & local communities
- Halstead Grant – grants for emerging silver jewelry artists
- iFundWomen – offers a variety of crowdfunded grants for women-owned businesses
SBA’s grant programs generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments in an effort to expand and enhance small business technical and financial assistance. Other federal grant programs generally support non-profit organizations, and state and local governments and are not given directly to small businesses. A list of Federal Grant programs can be found on SBA’s web site at: SBA Funding Programs.
Unfortunately, not all government grant offers are legitimate – bad actors have become sophisticated in their impersonation techniques so grant offers must be carefully vetted. To find out how to avoid these scams, see the Federal Trade Commission’s article about avoiding government grant scams.
In the same vein, some unscrupulous operators sell manuals, workshops and other materials on how to obtain “free money.” To find out how to avoid these scams, see the FTC’s article about coaching program scams.
Other Financial Resources for Women-Owned Small Business
- 37 Angels – community of angel investors created by women with a focus on women-owned businesses
- BBG Ventures – funding resource for early-stage companies founded by women
- Belle Capital – investment firm focusing on companies owned and led by women
- Female Founders Fund – venture fund that exclusively invests in female-founded companies
- Women’s Venture Fund – helps women build businesses in urban communities offering mentorship, one-on-one classes and small business loans
Other Resources for Women-Owned Business
- Diversity Woman Magazine – gendered publication created for minority business owners, executives and leaders
- eWomen Network, Inc. – helping women and their businesses achieve, succeed and thrive in the new economy through a loyal, dedicated community of women-owned businesses, corporate professionals and entrepreneurs
- Enterprising Women – magazine dedicated solely to women business owners
- Forbes Women – articles on work, life, balance, career, leadership, relationships, health, style, beauty, and personal finance
- Freelance Mom – helps members locate freelance work from home jobs, providing home business ideas, and sharing Internet marketing strategies to help working moms make smart decisions in business
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women – provides business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital for women entrepreneurs
- Mompreneur – teaches mom entrepreneurs how to manage time, generate business ideas, balance business and family, and grow their businesses
- Women Entrepreneur – online magazine that provides advice from leading female experts
- Women in Business – collection of TED Talks on the topic of women in business
- Women on Business – news and information women need to be successful in the business
- Women Home Business – trending topics pertinent to women entrepreneurs who own or want to start up home-based businesses
Additional Small Business Resources
Already in business or thinking about starting your own small business? Check out our various small business resources:
- View more small business help topics here: Small Business Information Center
- View business reports here: Small Business Snapshots
- View industry-specific research here: Market Research Links
Remember, you can also receive free professional business advice and free or low-cost business training from your local Small Business Development Center!