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 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.
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.