October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a time to recognize and celebrate female entrepreneurs who have started small businesses around the country. And there is a lot to celebrate recently. According to a 2022 survey, 49 percent of the businesses started in 2021 were formed by women, representing a dramatic increase from 2019, when only 28 percent of women started new businesses. The pandemic did not slow women down. In fact, it made them more determined than ever to seize the opportunity to become their own boss. To all the women small business owners who are reading this, I salute you!
And I want to support you too. As a woman business owner myself, I love to help women thrive as they start, grow, and scale small businesses. We can’t do it all on our own! We need support and guidance from others. That’s why I’m sharing 12 resources for women small-business owners with you today. Review the list, check out the sites and get the help you need to flourish!
12 Resources for Women Small Business Owners
The organizations and websites on this list provide a variety of support for women small business owners, including advice, advocacy, mentorship, funding support, and business connections.
1. American Business Women’s Association
The ABWA was founded in 1949 with a mission to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and provide opportunities to help them grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support, and national recognition. The membership organization hosts over 5,000 business/networking meetings annually in hundreds of cities nationwide. You can learn more about the chapters here.
Ellevate is a membership organization that defines itself as “a powerful coalition of ambitious and support women who believe there is strength in numbers.” The organization is big into networking and helping women build meaningful relationships (both local and digital). They host weekly Roundtables, local chapter meetups, topical forums, and various training programs for women small business owners who want to learn and grow.
ForbesWomen is an offshoot of the larger Forbes website that focuses on articles and information to help professional and executive women succeed. To keep up to date with their latest content, you can join their newsletter here.
4. National Association of Women Business Owners
NAWBO is a dues-based organization representing the interests of women entrepreneurs across all industries, with chapters across America. They offer conferences and events, networking opportunities, and other resources. To find a local chapter, check out this page.
5. National Women’s Business Council
NWBC is a nonpartisan federal advisory committee that offers advice and policy recommendations to government officials and organizations, including the President, Congress, and the SBA. They offer a webinar, host periodic roundtables to connect women entrepreneurs with policymakers, and host public meetings to get input on policy development.
6. SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership helps women small business owners through a variety of programs coordinated by SBA district offices. Programs include business training, counseling, federal contracts, funding, and more, and are aimed to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs who still face unique obstacles in the business world.
7. Small Business Development Centers
Although not specifically for women small business owners, I wanted to add a shout-out to the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). SBDCs provide high-quality, individualized business advising and technical assistance to existing small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to start a new business. This is one of the best ways for women business owners to find local help from experts! To check for an SBDC in your area, go here.
SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. While not specifically for women, it’s an excellent place to find a mentor who can help you plan, launch, manage and grow your small business. The nonprofit organization also offers a variety of educational workshops. They have a page of resources specifically for women entrepreneurs here.
9. Succeed as Your Own Boss
My own website, Succeed as Your Own Boss, is full of free resources for women small business owners. Based on my decades-long career in small business, I share expert advice in blog posts, podcasts, and other free resources. While you’re exploring the site, make sure to connect with me on my social channels! You can find me on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
10. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
WBENC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women small business owners thrive. Their Certification is the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned business owners in the United States. They also offer executive education, pitch opportunities, scholarships, a corporate membership program, and various events.
11. Women Impacting Public Policy
WIPP is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for women entrepreneurs to strengthen their impact on public policy, create economic opportunities, and forge alliances with other business organizations. They run a program called ChallengeHER to boost government contracting opportunities for women small business owners and host an annual summit and other events and education programs.
12. Women President’s Organization
WPO describes itself as an “organization where dynamic and diverse women business leaders worldwide tap into collective insight to experience game-changing breakthroughs. To qualify for membership, you must run your company’s day-to-day management as the CEO/President/Partner. It is restricted to privately-held companies that have reached $2M in gross annual sales or $1M in service-based businesses.
I hope this list of resources for women small business owners helps you take the next step in your professional career. Do you know of other organizations that support women entrepreneurs? Let me know about them in the comments below!