Women are starting businesses at an unprecedented rate. There are over 12.3 million businesses are owned by women, generating sales of $1.7 trillion. In fact, 39% of all privately held firms are women-owned businesses. To put this in perspective, this number was just 402,000 in 1972. That’s a whopping 2960% increase.
Most women cite flexibility as the main reason for starting their businesses. It’s not a secret that the US is not number one when it comes to maternity leave and childcare so women are opting to have it all on their terms instead. According to Inc., women rank their happiness as three times as higher when they are entrepreneurs.
Women Receiving Less Funding For Business Then Men
Despite the rapid growth of women-owned businesses, they tend to start their businesses with less working capital. The problem lies in the finance industry.
Most women have a harder time securing working capital for their business than their male counterparts. While the Small Business Administration (SBA) reports most women start their businesses with personal financing instead of going the traditional venture capital route.
The SBA also states that women tend to start their businesses with around $5,000 where men seem to seek large sums of capital before beginning their entrepreneurial journey. Almost three-fourths (72%) of all non-employer women-owned businesses start with less than $5,000, as compared to 55% for male-owned businesses.
Women are Struggling to Get Funding
It’s evident women are starting businesses these days more frequently than ever before. However, funding offered to women is not always proportionate to the rate at which women are starting those businesses.
Women-led startups apply for funding at an almost identical rate to men, but 28% of women were outright declined for funding while 64% received less than what they applied for.
In addition, according to a report by the National Women’s Business Council a male entrepreneur is likely to start their business with twice as much capital as a female will. This is troubling, as a company that does not have sufficient capital will typically see less sales and profits. As you know, it takes money to make money.
What About Angel Investors or Venture Capital?
Where a woman is most affected by preconceived notions and disparity in the business world is when it comes to funding. For those women who look for investors to help get their ideas off of the ground, the same options exist but with alarmingly different results.
When it comes to Angel and Venture capital it is believed that these types of investors have a natural tendency to offer support to people who they can relate to. Therefore, a man is more likely to see the potential in another male and his product before being able to recognize the value of a woman’s entrepreneurial idea.
Of all available venture capital opportunities, men are still receiving the majority, with only 2% going to women.
With numbers like that, we thought it would be helpful to showcase some of those places women can obtain the funding they need to run the business of their dreams.
Business Grant for Women
iFundWomen is a funding platform providing access to capital through crowdfunding and grants for women-owned startups and businesses. According to the SBA, most women will crowdfund or dip into personal savings to start-up their perfect business.
The platform offers a free 20-minute call to help you with your fundraising campaign. They also offer business coaching and a network of other women business owners to help you really work through your business ideas.
The SBA hosts an annual competition for businesses that positively impact the lives of women. The winner of the competition gets $40,000 and the prizes decrease in size for the second and third place. To participate, find a local InnovateHER Challenge.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
Eileen Fisher is a women’s clothing retailer but it awards $100,000 in grants to 10 women-owned businesses per year. Women must own 51% of the company and must not do over a million dollars in revenue per year. Ladies, your business must also focus on environmental or social change.
The Girlboss Foundation Grant
The Girlboss Foundation Grant awards $15,000 in grants to each recipient. This semi-annual grant is awarded to women entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors.
Amber Grant for Women
The Amber Grant for Women is through WomensNet. They award a $4,000 grant each month with the monthly winner eligible for an additional $25,000 grant awarded at the end of each year.
Government Grants for Women
All federally sponsored grants can be found at Grants.gov. Here you can search and apply for federal funding opportunities. All application submissions can be done through this site. Be sure to filter those grants to fit your specific needs.
Small Business Funding for Women
Small Business Funding is more than happy to help women find the perfect loan to help you thrive in business. Here at Small Business Funding, we focus on just a few things to help get you the advance you need.
1 – Time in business
Traditional banks are looking for multiple years’ worth of financial statements to see a track record. For those just starting their business, this is a huge problem. Small Business Funding has a minimum requirement of only 6 months in business.
2 – Credit score
Small Business Funding focuses on many other data points besides your credit score. You still need a minimum score of 600 to be considers but we put more emphasis on other factors such as your business performance.
3 – Revenue
Since our most of our funding options are unsecured, we put certain requirements in place to minimize our risk. One requirement is a minimum annual revenue of $180k (or $15k/month) to be considered.
While there are other factors that determine your approval, a majority of people can be approved for an advance based on these parameters. Ladies, no need to max out your credit cards anymore.
With such stellar options, there’s no reason women have to start their businesses with less capital. We’re here to help you find the perfect option for your business.
No matter how many women you may find in today’s boardrooms heading large companies, there can be no denying that they had to work harder than their male peers to get there. A woman business owner faces an array of challenges unique to her gender for a variety of reasons. The key is to recognize those challenges and turn them around to work for you.
Women business owners who are successful have achieved this by carving their own niche in the business world, embracing their unique position in a predominantly male environment, and modifying those inherent traits that could harm their business goals while emphasizing the ones that are beneficial.
The challenge may be greater, but by leveraging your natural ease in building relationships, you can create a network of respected business people that can offer sound advice on the funding opportunities available, alternative lending options, and the best methods for obtaining them.