Financing options for businesswomen

In the United States, 30 percent of small businesses is owned by women. And they get 4.4 percent of small business loan dollars. Is it much? No, definitely not, and this is the very bad news. Female owners get only 16 percent of conventional loans and 17 percent of those SBA backed. The next bad news is that women entrepreneurs receive much less than their male colleagues. Fortunately, there is good news as well – the situation is going to improve. The U.S Small Business Administration and other organizations have localized the problem and have started working on the change of this female unfriendly environment.

If you need financing to develop or open your small company you may try these:

Angel Investors and Venture Capital

Here the possibilities for female business owners are the biggest.

Astia – Astia is aimed at promoting angel investment help for female-owned businesses. You can apply for Astia’s Expert Sift program and receive a chance to access its network of angel investors. Those applicants who are selected can count not only on financial help, but also on professional advice and useful connections.

Golden Seeds – it focuses only on early stage startups so you can try to apply for its funding if your business is in the starting phase and you are in need of the initial funding. It also offers professional advice and is a source of valuable connections.

37 Angels – it is a network of angel investors which focuses on increasing female owners’ chances to receive funding and involvement in angel investing.

Grants

Grants are another option for women seeking funds for their businesses. The choice of them is actually more limited, but in this case you do not have to worry about punctual loan payments and other obligations.

The Amber Grant – the huge advantage of this grant option is a very reduced amount of paperwork you need to go through so as to apply for money. Although the maximum you can receive is only $2,500, it gives a great opportunity for you to access some larger investments. It is a very good solution for first-time businesswomen.

Eileen Fisher Women Owned Business Grant Program – this option provides funds for women owners of established small businesses. Here you can obtain money if your business: is owned by a woman in at least 51%, has been working for at least three years and works basing on environmental and social change rules.

Small loans

Try this option if grant money is not enough and you cannot count on capital investors. There are some loans created specifically for female entrepreneurs.

Elizabeth Street Capital – its creator, Tory Burch, is a businesswoman herself. Therefore, having noticed female entrepreneurs’ problems and needs, she set up Tory Burch Foundation which works in partnership with Bank of America in order to provide funds and support to women owners. An individual loan you may receive here ranges from $500 to $50,000.

SBA Loan Programs – the Small Business Administration provides equal chances for female business owners. You can apply for an SBA backed loan in your community bank, or if you need no more than $50,000 an SBA’s Microloan would be a good option. A Woman – Owned Business Program is yet another SBA’s offer which helps businesswomen by education and resources like access to grants, funding or federal contracts to businesses.

Grants for female entrepreneurs

Women are systematically settling the world of entrepreneurship. Reports show that the number of female business owners exceeds the national average of small business growth. Since 1997 to 2014, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 68 percent (The 2014 State of Women-Owned Business Report). This is a fantastic news which proves that women have gained the power to make a huge impact on the world.

There is also some bad information – women more and more often cannot count for the financial help from banks when it comes to providing funds for their small businesses. Luckily, thanks to the technology development and wide access to the internet there are still other options like peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and other online loans. Apart from these, there are government grants. Maybe this kind of financial help for entrepreneurs is not extremely popular and easy to get, yet still it can be a good source of money for entrepreneurs looking for some funds. And in the article we focus on the government grants to bring the topic closer and explain what it is all about.

Money you get for “free”

Who would not like to get a loan which would not have to be paid back? This kind of “free” money appeals to business owners mostly because of the fact they are not obliged to return it. But it cannot be too easy, you think. And it is not, actually, along with the money there are stipulations you must stick to. The process of receiving and operating the grant money is also complex and quite complicated. It is more or less in this way:

Step 1. You look for a grant you are eligible to.
Step 2. You must go through a strict application procedure and fulfill the compliance guidelines.
Step 3. You compete with other businesses for the same money.
Step 4. If you are successful and receive the grant you are obliged to give an account of the way you used it.

How about federal grants?

Being attracted by the ads promoting the federal grants you may feel these are a perfect way to gain your funds. Unfortunately, in the group of areas which can receive the federal grants there is no women-owned businesses area. For this reason, a better idea would be to start looking at a state level. Visit your state’s website and find business section to check whether the state offers women-owned businesses grants or not. Apart from this, check the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This agency works to assist minorities and women who start and develop their businesses.

Private grants

You can also consider private grants. Here is the list of some you may want to check:

  1. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money
  2. Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative
  3. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
  4. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge
  6. Small Business Technology Transfer Program
  7. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program
  8. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project
  9. Small Business Innovation Research
  10. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition
  11. Idea Café Small Business Grant

Who are the most influential women in the world?

Women are continuously growing in power. Since they nailed their equal rights, women have been showing their considerable potential hidden and suppressed for so many decades. Female contribution to the world’s good has already gone beyond the household which used to be the “female area”, and now they successfully rule the world together with men. Many women still need some motivation to find strength to take action and live the life they desire. Hence, we provide some examples of most powerful and successful women in the world to start the fire in those who have not found the right motivator yet.

Cher Wang


This woman achieved a huge success thanks to her own determination and work, which deserves the exceptional appreciation. She is the owner of HTC company – her smartphones won the 20% of the whole smartphone market and gave her the fortune of $6.8 billion. She started with manufacturing cell phones while working for the others.

Oprah Winfrey


A well-known woman, popular mostly thanks to her successful TV programs. Even president Obama was a guest of her famous TV show. She owns an estimated worth of $2.3 billion and, what is very admirable, she never forgets about the others’ needs.

J. K. Rowling


Her series of Harry Potter books has become a hugely successful bestseller around the world. From a single mother struggling with the difficult reality she has become one of the most successful women in the world. Who said you can’t do it?

Lady Gaga


Stefanie Germanotta known as Lady Gaga, owns as much as $100 million at the age of … 25! She writes her own music and successfully draws the attention of the young and old worldwide. No matter how much controversial her look, behaviour and songs are, she is considered one of the most influential women in the world and she did not need much time to get this title.

Angela Merkel


She is the first female leader in the German history. She governs the biggest and most powerful European economy. Her decisions and ideas have the power to affect the whole world.

Indra Nooyi


Born in India, Indra Nooyi has joined the group of most successful women in business. At present she is a chairwoman and CEO of Pepsico (second largest food and drink company in the world). Moreover, she earned degrees in: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Public and Private Management.

Susan Wojcicki


The next example of the powerful woman is Susan Wojcicki. She deserves her title thanks to the position she holds – a Senior Vice President of Google. Wojcicki is responsible mainly for the advertising revenue side.

Sara Blakely


Blakely is the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. She used to sell fax machines going from door to door and now, she is the owner of the successful undergarment company – Spanx.

Sheryl Sandberg


She is a member of the Facebook’s board. Since she joined the team, Facebook’s users base has increased 10 times and the business is continuously bringing more and more profit.

Melinda Gates


It is not easy to be a wife of a rich man like Bill Gates! It may sound like a bit of a taunt, but it definitely isn’t. Melinda turned out to be a perfect woman in this role. She talked her husband into co-funding a charity organization. As for now, they helped the world by donating $27 billion.

Female entrepreneurial spirit invincibly growing in power


The last 15 years brought a great increase of female activity in business making. The number of businesses run by women is growing very fast and they are likely to provide at least 5 million jobs by 2018. It is a very good prognosis which proves that women are growing in self-confidence and self-reliance. Nevertheless, women own only 30 percent of the companies worldwide, thus, they still have a lot to achieve. And this is the business world which definitely needs more female engagement. Why? We can observe that having a woman on the executive team helps the company. Such businesses led by mixed-gender boards are more likely to have Series A valuations higher by even 64%.

Motivation, support and some source of inspiration is needed. Women should know what potential they tend to hide. Below, we present the gradual growth of female power in the business world. Get inspired and start to rule your own world!

Where are women in the business world?

As soon as the Equal Credit Act was passed in 1974, women started to make huge steps into the world of entrepreneurship. Approving the equality of sexes has finally opened the door of business for female part of the society. After that the situation was only better. Nowadays, there are 9 million companies owned by women in the USA. By 2018, as many as 5 – 5.5 million jobs will be created by female small businesses. Women’s companies present a 1.5 times faster growth than other small businesses and since 2007 women have been leading in the growth of private companies. The situation of female businesses remained stable even during the economic downturn in the years 2007-2012. As it was stated above, women own 30% of companies in the world and 1 in 5 firms generating at least $1 million revenue belongs to a woman. 38% of workers for whom their self-employment is the main source of earnings are women.

Which states turned out to be the best environment for female owners?

The highest number of self-employed women has Oregon with 45.4% of workers . In Las Vegas, Nevada, 26% of venture-backed companies have at least one female founder. Other states with the highest number of female owners are Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Examples of powerful women

As the next good motivator we provide a few examples of very successful female founders.


Julia Hartz – Eventbrite – working since 2006, makes money on connecting people for events and selling tickets.

Lynn Jurich – SunRun – started in 2007, works on providing affordable sun energy.

Adi Tatarko – Houzz – a home design website founded in 2009.

Jin Sook Chan – Forever 21 –the U.S. fashion retailers chain founded in 1984.

Women have become very important players in the business game. They provide many new thoughts, ideas and also ways of governing companies. Gender diversity in businesses influences them positively, helps develop new strategies and attempts, which is invaluable in the process of growth.

A few useful tips for women entrepreneurs

Being your own boss and having the power to fulfill your visions and dreams can be really appealing. This is the main reason why women decide to become entrepreneurs. Freedom and more flexibility in their life can cost quite a lot, but it surely is worthwhile.

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of women who choose working for a company and be under control of their boss. The unknown is always the source of fear, whereas climbing the career ladder is much safer and much more predictable. You finish school, enter a corporation, have family. This well-known ground and complacency is very often “too good” to exchange it for running your own dream-business. Apart from this, women tend to be much less confident of their skills, knowledge and good preparation than it is in the case of men. While women are unsure even when they are perfectly prepared, men are fully confident even being unprepared.

There is still one more discouraging aspect of running your own company. Many women prefer fixed and predictable work hours, so as to have more time for their family. When you become your own boss no one is going to tell you what and when you should do. Such a change can be quite hard in the beginning. And without good organization it seems impossible to work at home, especially when your family is around.

Luckily, there are some solutions to help women overcome the obstacles on their road to successful business.

Allow yourself to be crazy

If you want to start something of your own you must be, first of all, determined, but also…crazy. No risk no gain, so do not look around for approval. Think of your idea/vision as gorgeous and special just because it is yours.

Reward yourself!

Remember about celebrating even the smallest success. It will give you some energy for the further struggle and will help you maintain the right attitude and motivation.

Know your aims

It is crucial to be aware of what you want to achieve. Both generally and for now. You must start organizing your work day from writing down what your goals for today are. Being free brings the danger of losing control and wasting time. Create a plan and realize it step by step since it is a key of good organization, and success.

Don’t be afraid to invest

You must be prepared to invest your time and energy, but also money. Invest in your development and then make it worth spending money.

Avoid comparisons

Just be grateful for what you have. There is always someone who can do it better and someone who is worse in it than you. Comparisons kill enthusiasm and confidence. You should rather focus on your own abilities which are special in their own way. We do not have to be like the others to be good.

In the end, if you dream of fulfilling your ideas and dreams, but on the other hand you feel overwhelmed and afraid of losing the stability and predictability of working for someone else remember – no one said it was easy! Many women have already accepted the challenge. You just need to be aware of what is the life you desire and then, make your life like this.

World of finance – not for women?

Where are women in the world of finance? The place seem to be dominated by men and women are considered less skilled in financial issues. Women earn less, have more breaks in their career and live longer. There are much more women than men who are dependent on their partner’s earnings. The problem occurs when a woman becomes a divorcee or a widow, thus, women should become more engaged in finances. In fact, they are already engaged by paying bills and making any financial decisions concerning their household, yet still, regardless of their good education and great competence in many areas, they treat finances as men thing. Their lack of confidence and knowledge in this area is visible also among women on higher positions and with good careers. What is interesting, this problem is present in the case of younger women as well as women in their 50s or older.

Of course, not all women are less literate in finances than men, as not all men are so confident and knowledgeable in this topic. However, researches show that women are just much less interested in financial matters. What is more, women are not individualists in this case, they tend to choose educating about finances in groups of those similar to them, than spending time alone and gaining knowledge from books. A study from 2007 by Tahira Hira of Iowa State University and Cäzilia Loibl of Ohio State University has shown that women find investing rather complicated, time consuming and too stressful. Furthermore, these are some important events in their lives (marriage, maternity) which ignite saving and investing for them, whereas men get into investments step by step. Women seem to do it when they have to and treat it as obligation concerning the welfare of their family.

Surprisingly, despite lower enthusiasm and lack of interest in terms of investing, women may be better investors than men. The reason of this is women’s ability to see what they do not know and to accept their lack of knowledge which, along with lower confidence, saves women from too risky decisions.

Depending on what kind of knowledge sources you prefer, choose one most appealing and start entering the world of finances for your own good. Below you can find some useful suggestions.

The Internet

Visit LearnVest.com. This is a website about personal finances which is directed mostly to younger women (in their 20s or 30s). The website’s aim is to get to women using more “female” language for finances. Here you can receive a personalized action plan which helps organize your financial life better. Another option for you can be, for example, Mint.com.

Books

“Shoo, Jimmy Choo!” by Catey Hill is a book about finances “coloured” in pink and presented in a girlish style. If you have nothing against some fun and silliness included in the topic of finances you can find this book very interesting. For those who do not want serious topics presented as covered in sweet frosting “Hot (Broke) Messes” by Nancy Trejos may be more appropriate.

Face to face

A discussion group is a good option for women who need some personal contact with the others. Check out what already exists (for instance: Women&Co., WISE, Down-to-Earth-Finance) or just… start your own group!

10 commandments for a successful businesswoman

How is it going in the world of female entrepreneurs? Great! Women are the owners of 11.3 million of U.S. businesses. What is more, they are continuously growing in strength as since 2007 the number of women entrepreneurs has gone up by 45%. Female entrepreneurship is developing five times faster than the general U.S. average. These facts show that women are finally getting into the world of entrepreneurship and they do it fiercely and with will to fight.

Unfortunately, there is still some space for improvement. Sad statistics say that female owners usually employ only one more worker and their earnings are much smaller than these of the average private business in U.S. What should we do now? Aim higher and work harder. Development is a part of our lives and we must be prepared for many periods of hard times and obstacles which cannot stop us but help us grow. One of possible options for finding motivation is to keep in touch with other powerful women and to profit from their experience and knowledge. Here we present some motivating advice given by successful women which may inspire and build you up.

Useful tips

  • Tiana Patrice pinpoints that being oneself is crucial. Stop making comparisons and avoid thinking about failure. Your business is yours, you are unique and so is the business you own. Try to surround yourself with things that help you keep being motivated and optimistic.
  • For Tandee A. Salter confidence is necessary. Feel confident in who you are and what you doin your own individual way.
  • Jai Stone advises you to do what you love and what gives you money at the same time. However, forget about doing only things you like and which give you pleasure. Making money involves doing things you just HAVE TO do not only those you love.
  • Rachel Wilson Thibodeaux believes that to succeed you must leave aside the perfectionism. Nobody is perfect, be effective at the first place. Moreover, as Maleeka T. Hollaway says, you should focus on one thing you do well and avoid being a superwoman doing many different things at the same time.
  • For Danielle Davis it is a hard work which brings success. You must be strong and fight for your business.

  • Kiarra Solomon claims that having a family does not blight your career. Do not choose one, have both! You do not have to sacrifice family to become a businesswoman.
  • Jenenne Macklin warns that developing your company may take much more time than you expected. You must be prepared for difficulties and become your own cheerleader for the hurdle times.
  • You cannot remain in a shade. According to Audria Richmond, it is good marketing which keeps your business alive.
  • Shayla Locklea encourages to remain different and unconventional. Your business is special because it is yours. You do not have to follow anyone, just trust your intuition. Also Pamela J. Booker reminds that trust in oneself while making any business decisions is invaluable.
  • Have breaks. As Katrina L. Alexander advises, avoid making important decisions when you are in a bad physical or psychological condition.

I’m a woman. How can I get into finances?

Researches show that women tend to avoid the topics related to finances. Money and investments seem to be excluded from their area of interests and are considered rather a “man thing”. However, as life shows women are capable of managing finances well and it is rather their own wrong belief that causes a low self-confidence in this area and fear of investments and financial matters .

Nonetheless, it is not only the matter of interests. Women should be able and willing to take care of their money for their own good. Our life situation can suddenly change. Becoming a widow or a divorcee will automatically impose the obligation of dealing with finances on a woman. Being totally unprepared for such circumstances may bring a great amount of stress and bad decisions which will influence their future negatively.

This article proposes some advice helping women to get involved in the world of money and start being more bold in investing.

Do not be too eager and start with the basics

Rummage through the Internet for some basic knowledge (if you prefer talking and contact to people you may as well visit a professional adviser). Do not think of investing as a thing not for you just because you are a woman. It only seems to be so difficult because you are not familiar with the topic. It changes when you overcome the first most discouraging fears.

Using the help of a financial professional will make the process less complicated and stressful for you. You can discuss any questions with him or her. But before you start, it is important to get on well with the person you have chosen. Look for a person who is a good listener and teacher at the same time.

Apart from visiting professionals, try to find a person (it can be a friend or a family member) who will be your motivator and partner for discussion. Remember to talk to your spouse or partner about finances on a regular basis.

Use the Internet

The Internet can be a good source of information as well as motivation for you. One possibility is to follow a blog connected with women and their financial management. Other options are Twitter – follow investing companies, or FinCon where you can join a community of investing women.

Make use of workshops at work

If you have such a possibility try to utilize any workshops provided by your employer. It is a great chance to increase your financial knowledge.

Conclusions

Women should ignore their inner negative assumptions about their financial management abilities. They are usually much more talented in this matter than they think. If they can save, they can also invest. The problem lies in the lack of basic knowledge which is crucial if one wants to feel more confident in any area. Besides, women need to start talking about finances in order to find solutions to their problems and answer all questions arising. Take action immediately and stop making excuses. It will pay off.

How to keep the fleeing women on?


Companies need women in their crew, and if the female employees keep resigning from posts, it can be a sign that firm’s direction should be changed for more woman-friendly. Businesses need to create such conditions which attract female workers and discourage them from leaving for competitors or self-employment. It is worthwhile, especially now when the UK closes the borders for immigration and, thus, a lot of talented candidates. What action should be taken in order to make everyone satisfied in this game?

Fair gratitude

The matter of payment is crucial in the problem. Financial discrimination is a frequent bone of contention in the discussion about fair work-conditions for hired women. Being paid less than a man for the same work is a justified source of women’s disagreement and resignation. The only way to avoid this problem is to ensure that all your workers are paid even-handedly, regardless of their sex.

Fair evaluation

This is the next issue you must consider and take care of. If you observe differences between male and female workers’ performance or promotion, find out if the evaluation process concerning women’s performance is carried out properly.

Support progress

Putting women on top positions do not solve the real problem in the long run – it is the equal number of female and male workers progressing throughout the organization which brings help for the “roots”.

Support diversity

The example should be given from the top. Gender diversity in the organization need to be advocated by the leaders in the first place. It is their obligation to ensure that women and men are treated equally, irrespective of sex and stereotypes.

Promote flexible working

This can be a great encouragement for women with families. In fact, also for men. Flexible working should be regarded as beneficial and assented. And again, the example needs to come from the top so as to make it work. Sometimes, finish job earlier and go to see a school match – the rest should know this kind of work flexibility is not unwelcome.

Give international opportunities

International work experience is necessary for good career development. Excluding a female worker from such chances because of the fact she has children, is a mistake. Surely, this might be a trouble for mothers to leave country and work abroad. Yet, you can offer some modified options like short term/split-base assignments or those with international remit.

Health and wealth needs

When women exceed the age of 45 the issue of health problems, of both their own and their family, becomes significant. The needed support provided by employers can help them overcome the difficulties easier, and with less damage to their career.

Mothers coming back

So as to avoid losing female employees who have recently become mothers, companies must develop a certain strategy to make them eager to return. One of the most obvious ways to achieve this is creating the beneficial conditions of maternity leave and encouraging women to “be in the swim” also when they are away. After that, providing some training can help go back to the work reality more smoothly.

What is the current position of women in finance?


Analysing the statistics that show the number of women occupying senior positions in finance, we can draw such a conclusion: from the previous patriarchal society we have gone to patriarchal world of finance. What is more, data shows that men dominate the senior positions in general, not only in financial companies. Many of us probably have this subjective feeling of female absence among the seniors, since it is not difficult to observe. And the situation looks the same from a formal point of view. Catalyst inform that there are as few as 20 female chief executives in the whole Standard & Poor’s group of 500. According to Harvard Business School, the number of women employed in private- equity, real estate and venture-capital firms is set between 17 and 23 percent, and this does not concern the higher positions only, but employment in general. In the world of finance there is definitely no equal division of sexes. The sad truth is that women directors, managers or any other seniors constitute much less than a half of finance related workers.

Eternally alive stereotypes

An important question arises: why women seem to keep off finances? Or maybe it is the labour market which is continuously shunning female candidates? We can suppose that it is a normal consequence of the former society order in which men dominated this area of market (and not only this one). Maybe subconsciously, men are still considered as better candidates for finance governing positions, since they are perceived as more authoritative and adamant.


Stereotypes aside, after years of women’s successful struggle for equality, as it turns out, there is still place for improvements. Actually, this is probably women’s awareness that needs some refreshment.

Choose better quality – choose women

Interestingly, Credit Suisse Research Institute have studied the problem and their results point out that women on senior positions influence the company’s work positively and contribute to the better financial performance. It has been shown that women managers in many cases are better than men on the same position and the presence of a woman on management board brings various benefits, like higher average growth or returns on equity. Whereas men tend to incur more risk (and consequently losses) to business with their more impulsive and fiery temperament, women are just “safer”.

Growing trend

The situation has improved – after 10 years the percentage of female senior workers on boards of the biggest companies grew from 15 to 20. Observing this trend, we can suppose that it is going to continue changing for better. 2020 Women on Boards is a nonprofit organization created by 2 women who aim at increasing the number of female members of corporate boards to 20% by the year 2020. They believe that the diversity of thought is the key to successful management and such diversity cannot be realized without female representatives in the governing group. The creators of the website girlswhoinvest.org go further and their goal is 30% by 2030. All the action which attempt to mobilize women to take action in governing finances bring some optimistic prognosis for the future.