If you are a woman business owner, you probably already know how difficult it is to make it as a female entrepreneur. The biggest problem is the lack of respect, and investors or fellow business owners may look down on you. While these things can appear to be just minor annoyances, they can have ultimately affect your business. Luckily, now we have plenty of programs that focus on women-owned businesses, and they can provide the needed funding. Here is what you should know if you are a woman and you want to fund your business.
Make sure that your business is a woman-owned business
A business does not need to have only women owners in order to be considered a woman-owned business. In fact, it is enough if 51% of the shares are owned by one or multiple women. Third party certifier like WBENC can prove this through certification. You can also try self-certification if you want.
Inquire on what the requirements are
Research is the first natural step in this process. You must be aware of the certifications that you need. Most of the time you do not need to apply for a national certification if you operate just in one locality. Make sure that you know what kind of company you want to know, and what is the level of certification needed for it.
After you have all the documents, prepare your paperwork. You should find instructions at your agency. Submit the application only after you are sure that everything is in order and nothing is missing. We also recommend to keep a copy of every document.
Be ready for the interview (and the site visit)
If your papers are in order, you can expect an interview. The committee will want to meet you personally and make sure that a woman is really the one in charge. If you do not feel confident enough you can prepare in advance and rehearse with some possible questions. Don’t forget that those people are there to help your business, so try not to worry and act natural. You should also expect a site visit, so have everything prepared for it.
If your application won’t be accepted you will be informed and they will their you their reasons, and you will receive one month to fix the previous errors.
If you want to receive funds like other small businesses, you can try traditional options like a small business line or credit, a bank loan, or you can even check sba loan rates.
However, there are many programs designed for women. For example, you can check out Operation HOPE Small Business Empowerment Program or Key4Women Program.
Or you can take it even further, and apply for a grant. It may appear difficult to get approved for one, but there are many that were created for women-owned businesses, such as Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge or The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program.