Setting the Record Straight: Resources that Exist for Women Business Owners

Oct 20, 2020

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There is a common misconception that little to no resources exist for women entrepreneurs. Financing, leadership, training, management…you name it.

Many believe these are hard to find.

But as an entity that works with countless entrepreneurs, we have seen individuals and organizations come together to provide for women entrepreneurs more than ever before. While many believe the challenge to find these resources still exists, we are here to “de-bunk” that myth and highlight a few resources available to help women business owners on their journey.

  1. Partnerships – Women business owners are surrounded by one of the most basic and key resources that can help them along their journey: partnerships. Many women partner with friends, colleagues, or spouses on business ventures, building a network of like-minded individuals who can support them as they grow. These partnerships often help alleviate stressors that come with owning a business and provide an opportunity for small business owners to work together in a way that is mutually beneficial.
  2. Unique financing programs – There are several nontraditional financing programs available in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana for women business owners. Among these is the SBA 504 loan program, a loan program that offers a minimum 10% down payment, up to 25-year term options, and below-market fixed interest rates for long-term fixed assets such as real estate and equipment. 
  3. Learning workshops – There are a multitude of learning workshops for women entrepreneurs who are looking to start or expand their own business. From writing a business plan and managing your business, to financing, human resources, and leadership, the variety of topics is widespread, providing opportunities for women business owners to learn no matter what stage their business is in. If you are wondering where to start, you can check out ACTIVATE Women: a learning workshop series that has hosted more than 40 sessions – both virtually and in 5 cities across North Dakota – to help entrepreneurs learn from local experts about a variety of business topics. 
  4. Women’s Business Center – One of the best kept secrets for women entrepreneurs is the Women’s Business Center. This business program has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana that help women through their journey of business ownership, regardless of what stage of business they are in. With resources available across the state, the WBC offers a variety of programs, workshops, networking events, trainings, and business counseling services perfect for women professionals who are looking to start, grow, or expand their business. Learn more about WBC’s in your state (North Dakota and Montana), as well as their host companies (North Dakota and Montana), and the valuable resources they offer. 
  5. Other resource partners – Some other key resource partners for women entrepreneurs include:
    • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – provides capital, counseling, and contracting services to small business owners and entrepreneurs in pursuit of the American dream. 
    • Small Business Development Center (SBDC in North Dakota and Montana) – assists entrepreneurs with business plan development, start-up/expansion logistics, financial projections, and market research in preparation to start or expand a business. 
    • SCORE – connects entrepreneurs with a network of volunteer, business experts to serve as mentors throughout their business ventures. 
    • Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC in North Dakota and Montana) – grants service members, veterans, and military spouses’ access to training workshops, advising, and mentoring throughout their small business journey. 
  6. Networking – Lastly, one of the easiest and most important you can do to grow your business is to network with other women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Not only can networking open up new opportunities and connections but can help women professional build a network of support as they continue along their business journey.

The next time you hear someone mention the lack of resources for women business owners, encourage them to look up one of these resources and try them out.

These resources can help transform women entrepreneurs from dreamers to do-ers as they embark on the path of business ownership and success.