By Jonathan Feniak, Esq., MBA
Female entrepreneurs are a powerful sector of the overall workforce. With a variety of goals and objectives, female entrepreneurs have many different resources available to make the most of their opportunities. Use support services to find and connect with helpful mentors in your industry and work to improve your business. Business resources can also provide avenues for securing funding, whether from investors, from loans, or from business grants.
Female entrepreneurs and women aspiring to own their own businesses can receive support in many different forms. Whether women need assistance with funding to launch a business or to meet financial obligations or with training to learn how to effectively form, launch, and manage a company, there are many resources available. Some resources are targeted specifically to women, some are designed for minorities, and others are ideal for any small-business owner. Women can learn about business law, how to write a business plan, developing a marketing strategy, seeking investors, and much more.
In communities where women-owned businesses succeed, everyone wins. Not only are women empowered to reach their goals and achieve new levels of success, but their businesses contribute to the overall economy, which benefits everyone. Although globally, women only account for 30 percent of the total business owners and operators, women are making strides to equalize this gender disparity. New financing initiatives are providing more access to funding for female entrepreneurs, especially in developing countries. Mentorships are also becoming more popular, with successful entrepreneurs lending their expertise to those in need of coaching. Networks are becoming commonplace, often operated virtually on the Internet, wherein female entrepreneurs can receive support in the form of courses, training, webinars, and being matched with mentors.
Business grants are one of the best ways to fund a new business venture. By applying for and being awarded a business grant, it's possible to receive the finances necessary to launch a business or to pay for a new venture or idea. Because grants don't need to be repaid, they can be very appealing. Applying for and receiving a grant can often be the first step toward winning additional grants because the recipient gains credibility and visibility. However, significant research can be involved with finding available grants. In addition, the application process can be time-consuming, and the competition is often tough. Sometimes, grants include both conditions and restrictions that the recipient must satisfy, making them more difficult to get. Some grants renew automatically each year, but others require reapplication to keep the funding.
Applying for loans is another option for female entrepreneurs. Although loans have to be repaid, there are some advantages to this type of funding. The application process for grants can take many months, which may be difficult when you need funds immediately; applying for a loan can give you access to the funds you need much faster. Also, grants award a predetermined sum of money, while with loans, you can request the amount of money you need. The competition factor with grants is nonexistent with loans. However, it is important to research loan options carefully to ensure that you choose the one with the best terms.