For new business owners, fundraising is typically one of the biggest challenges. For women entrepreneurs, this obstacle can often seem insurmountable due to biases that are embedded in the male-dominated funding environment. In 2022, female-founded companies garnered 2% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups, according to Pitchbook.
Because this statistic has been stagnant for years, women have banded together to form networking organizations, educational resources, and even funding mandates to support the female founder community.
Supporting female founders has far-reaching benefits. Studies show that companies with female founders have been found to outperform those run by men by 63%, benefitting investors and local economies. Additionally, female founders often focus on solving problems and addressing market gaps that have been overlooked by male entrepreneurs. This can lead to innovative products and services that cater to an underserved market, creating a competitive advantage and potential for strong returns on investment.
Discouraging and encouraging statistics alike will hopefully serve as fuel to ignite women entrepreneurs to continue pursuing their dreams, never give up, and prove their naysayers wrong.
, For all the “doer’s” out there, here are 12 highly recommended resources for women in business. Whether it’s a membership community, summit, or simply tuning into a podcast or newsletter, tapping one or more of these services can hopefully support you throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
SBA Women’s Business Centers: Run by the Small Business Administration, Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are a part of a national network of entrepreneurship centers throughout the United States and its territories, which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. WBCs seek to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world.
Luminary: Luminary is a first-of-its-kind, gender inclusive, global professional education and networking platform created to address the systemic challenges impacting women across all industries and sectors. It also has a coworking space in New York City that is also open to male allies, and also serves as an event space for female-led panels and supportive companies.
Springboard Enterprises: This organization was founded by pioneering female founder and CEO Kay Koplovitz, who originally launched USA Network. Springboard is a network of innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs who aspire to build high-growth companies in the tech and life sciences fields, all led by women.
Create & Cultivate: Founded by Forbes Under 30 finalist Jaclyn Johnson, Create & Cultivate is a digital platform that is equally known for its best-in-class events bringing together thousands of women of all backgrounds to a day filled with panels, workshops, and even some self-care. They hold events in major cities across the country throughout the year.
She Leads Media: Through She Leads podcasts and events, Adrienne Garland and her team offer marketing consulting services to startups and Fortune 1000 brands, primarily in the Media, Entertainment and Technology space. Areas of expertise include digital marketing, social media, business strategy, business development and event production.
All Raise: This organization arms female founders and funders with access, guidance, and support to exponentially accelerate their success and propel the entire industry forward. In this venture-backed ecosystem, All Raise understands access is not the end-game, it’s just the beginning.
HeyMama: Mothers should never go through parenthood or their professional lives alone. HeyMama is a membership-based networking group for moms that connects mothers who are growing their careers and families. It hosts live and digital events to keep women engaged.
The Second Shift: Another integral resource for women experiencing transitions in their career, The Second Shift is a platform that represents a vetted network of experienced talent, and partners with companies aiming to maximize these women’s expertise. Companies access The Second Shift’s large pool of experts and professionals to hire more effectively, efficiently and diversely.
Women 2.0: Women 2.0 is operated by a network of advisors who aim to boost the number of women entrepreneurs and women-led startups with multiple resources including videos, articles and global events, most notably its PITCH conferences.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council: The WBENC is a nonprofit that certifies businesses owned and operated by women across the country. It partners with 14 regional chapters to provide world-class certification to its members.
Enterprising Women of Color Initiative: More important than shining a spotlight on the need for gender diversification is the need to diversify on all fronts, including race, religion, and economic background. The EWOC is operated by the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. MBDA invests in a national network of MBDA Business Centers, Specialty Centers, and Grantees. Our programs offer customized business development and industry-focused services to provide greater access to capital, contracts and markets. This is a national program, and it’s always a great idea to explore localized programs and networks within your region, city, or town.
Female Founders Fund: FFF is a seed stage venture firm that invests specifically and exclusively in women-founded ventures. Its portfolio includes Rent the Runway, Billie shaving products, Maven Clinic, Winky Lux, Zola, and more. Cofounder Anu Duggal launched the fund in 2014 and has since become a leading source of institutional capital for female founders raising seed capital more than $3 billion in value.