20+ resources every female entrepreneur should know

Editorial Team

5 min read
Three women in a planning meeting

March is Women’s History Month, a moment to celebrate the contributions of women in society, business, science and more. Long before Women’s History Month became a federally recognized holiday in 1981, women have had a massive impact on the economy and in their local communities as entrepreneurs and business owners.

Share:

Today, American Express estimates that 42% of businesses in the US are women-owned. In addition, 50% of all women-owned businesses are minority-owned. “With more than double the annual growth rate of all other businesses, female founders are steadily breaking down barriers to start and run successful companies,” wrote The Blueprint

Each day, 1,817 new women-owned businesses are launched. If you count yourself among those women seeking to start a new venture or are looking for ways to support other women in their business journey, these resources can help. 

Government funding for female entrepreneurs

Looking for government funding? A good place to start is the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) helps women entrepreneurs find business training, counseling, federal contracts, and access to credit and capital through local SBA district offices

The OWBO operates specific Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). These centers offer mentoring, networking, and other resources to help female entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. “Businesses receiving assistance from WBCs see a significantly better success rate than those without similar support,” reports the SBA.

Government funding for female entrepreneurs can be found through these resources: 

Contests and grants for women business owners

Private organizations often provide grants and use contests to offer funding to women-owned ventures and small businesses. Here are a few options to consider. 

  • The Amber Grant: Founded by WomensNet, this grant awards one $10,000 grant per month to a woman business owner. One winner will also be awarded an additional $25,000 at the end of the year.
  • IFundWomen: this grant marketplace specializes in crowdfunding and coaching for women-owned businesses. Think Kickstarter, but with an emphasis on mentoring.
  • The Cartier Women’s Initiative: this prize is awarded annually to 21 female entrepreneurs from around the world. The top seven finalizes receive $100,000 and business mentoring from an expert; the remaining 14 finalists receive $30,000. This award is for early-stage businesses. 
  • Grantsforwomen.org: If you’re familiar with Grants.gov, but frustrated by searching through the hundreds of grant opportunities, this resource is for you. It’s a database of grants specifically targeting women, so nearly every opportunity you see is one for which you are eligible. 
  • Black Founder Startup Grant: From the SoGal Foundation, this grant is for startup businesses owned by Black women or Black nonbinary entrepreneurs. Grants are available in amounts of either $10,000 or $5,000.

Venture capital for women business owners 

Since the pandemic, there’s been a decrease in the amount of venture capital funding allocated to women-led start-ups. In 2019, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups; in 2020, that percentage fell to just 2.3%. Sadly, 2019 was an all-time high. 

VC funding is competitive and hard to find for female entrepreneurs for many reasons. Nevertheless, there are some venture capital funds that are continuing to prioritize spending on women-led ventures. Here are a few places to try. 

  • Backstage Capital: This fund invests in startup founders who identify as a Woman, Person of Color, and/or LGBTQ. 
  • BBG Ventures: Every company in this fund’s portfolio has at least one female founder. BBG Ventures focuses on companies using technology to transform daily life. 
  • BELLE Capital USA: This angel fund only backs companies that have at least one female founder or C-level exec, and/or are willing to recruit top female talent to the C-suite and Board of Directors.
  • Female Founders Fund: This fund backs women-owned businesses in the B2B, consumer, healthcare, and fintech sectors. 
  • Portfolia: This company offers investment funds designed for women who back innovative companies for returns and impact. Women investing in other women — what’s not to love?

Resources for women running a business 

We’ve covered tons of resources for women starting a business. But, if you’re further along in your journey, finding funding may not be your first priority. There are plenty of other resources for business owners at later stages of growth. 

  • Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE): This is a large regional nonprofit dedicated to helping women-run companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. 
  • Ladies Who Launch: This online community offers educational resources, funding, mentorship, networking, and community for women entrepreneurs, hosting experiential events and connecting digitally.
  • Moms As Entrepreneurs (MAE): This nonprofit aims to support the “mom entrepreneur community” by providing training and financial education, as well as connecting mom entrepreneurs with funding.
  • National Association for Female Executives (NAFE): Founded in 1972, this organization supports, advocates for and promotes women in executive positions. 
  • Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP): This nonpartisan national public policy organization advocates at the national level on behalf of women-owned businesses.

How to support female-owned businesses 

There are tons of ways to support women-owned businesses. The most obvious being by shopping for their goods and services. Beyond patronizing women-backed ventures, customers can show their support by leaving positive reviews online, sharing content on social media, and spreading the word as much as possible to their friends and family. 

At Clover, we offer our Back2Business program to help small business owners–especially women-owned small businesses–get back on their feet and back to business with grants, mentorship, and other support.