According to industry data, women business owners only receive 7 percent of venture capital funding, despite the fact that women make up approximately 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. Although the global profile of female entrepreneurship is growing, female founders and business owners still face a number of obstacles when looking for startup funding or business loans. But as more and more women-owned and -led business ventures continue to make a powerful economic impact, new opportunities to access vital funding are becoming available.
Obstacles to Finding Funding and Business Loans for Female Entrepreneurs
From retail to technology, female business owners are making strides across a number of industries. But obstacles remain for women looking for capital to both launch and scale their businesses. There are a number of reasons behind the lag in funding for female business owners, many of which are deeply ingrained in longstanding societal stereotypes and misconceptions about what has traditionally been accepted as a male domain.
Some of the most common issues that women face when looking for business loans, grants, or investment capital include:
• Lack of access to established networks
• Misconceptions about the potential for female-owned businesses to succeed and become profitable
• Limited availability of mentors and support networks
• Limited data and resources specific to female entrepreneurship
As more businesses owned and run by women continue to make an undeniable impact on the economy (women-owned businesses were estimated to generate over $1 trillion in 2015 alone), the net will broaden and more opportunities will inevitably become available.
From women-owned venture capital firms that focus on providing seed funding and investment to female-led ventures, to organizations like the Sarah Blakely Foundation, which is dedicated to offering women much-needed mentorship and networking opportunities, the landscape is slowly evolving to become more inclusive.
In the meantime, there is a growing list of resources that are available for women looking for funding to start and grow their own business.
Business Funding Opportunities and Resources for Female Entrepreneurs
Whether you need access to a loan or grant, industry information, a mentor, networking opportunities, or all of the above, there are a number of organizations that can help. If you are a small business owner, consider some of the following resources:
• Babson’s Center for Women’s Leadership
• Ladies Who Launch
• National Association of Women Business Owners
• National Women’s Business Council
• SBA (Small Business Association) Women’s Business Center
Grants for Female Business Owners
• USA Funding Applications
• New USA Funding
• Amber Grant
• American Association of University Women (AAUW) Community Action Grants
• Open Meadows Foundation
• Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp Small Business Competition
• Belle Capital Grants
• Mission Main Street Project
• Mom Inspired Grants
• FedEx Small Business Grant
Despite the lending gap, businesses that are owned and led by women have been growing at five times the national average for the past decade. Even in the face of funding shortfalls or significantly lower funding offers than their male counterparts, female entrepreneurs are charging full steam ahead with new ventures and companies. Making lending more open and accessible for women is not only a matter of fairness and inclusivity, it is a matter of economic growth and prosperity for the entire economy.
For more information on how to access funding for your small business or startup, contact us today to learn more.