Women-owned businesses have been experiencing a growth spurt in recent years. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 21%, while all businesses increased just 9%. Total employment by women-owned businesses rose 8%, while the increase was 1.8% for all businesses.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to much of that growth. And as the economy recovers, women business owners are in need of support more than ever, whether it’s funding, mentorship or education.
“As a female small business owner, I have found that the most challenging part of finding support is determining ‘noise’ versus an organization offering genuine help and value to females in business,” said Jaclyn Strauss, a certified public accountant and founder of My Macro Memoir.
Feel the same way? We rounded up a few standout organizations that support women small-business owners professionally and financially.
1. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
Founded in 1975, NAWBO is an organization for women entrepreneurs with chapters across the country. In exchange for a paid membership, women get access to a ton of resources to help them grow their businesses and work on personal and professional development. That includes access to events, webinars, professional discounts, updates on business legislation and even the opportunity to be a speaker, depending on membership category.
2. US Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA offers a number of programs designed to help women business owners access capital and credit, as well as training, counseling and more. Its Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), for instance, helps empower women entrepreneurs, especially those who are economically or socially disadvantaged. Programs are coordinated through SBA district offices.
3. Tory Burch Foundation
Founded by Tory Burch, an American fashion designer, businesswoman and philanthropist, the Tory Burch Foundation was launched in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs. It is a nonprofit organization that offers access to capital, education, digital resources and mentoring and networking opportunities.
4. The Acceleration Project (TAP)
TAP is a female-founded, female-led business advisory firm founded in 2009, which works to strengthen local economies by improving the health of small businesses. Services range from deep engagements with individual businesses, webinars and workshops and mentoring and networking opportunities. TAP focuses on supporting underserved small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color.
5. The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC)
The AWBC is a nonprofit organization that helps businesses run by women across the U.S. In partnership with the SBA, it has built more than 100 Women’s Business Centers, which provide training, mentoring, business development and financing to more than 150,000 women entrepreneurs every year. AWBC also conducts workshops and webinars for networking and educational purposes.
6. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
WBENC is a nonprofit organization that provides certification to businesses that are at least 51% owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. It’s the most widely recognized national certification for women-owned businesses. WBENC also provides programs, networking opportunities and other events for women-owned businesses.
7. International Association of Women (IAW)
Founded in 2017, IAW is a professional networking platform that connects women in-person and online. With more than 40 active local chapters, members can attend monthly meetings and other events. IAW also provides virtual networking roundtables that feature expert discussions on a number of topics related to career and business.