Small Business Administration loans are a well-known tool for entrepreneurs seeking to finance their businesses.
The SBA has a broad range of programs that can provide loans guaranteed by the Agency to entrepreneurs in all sorts of fields (although not every field, there are a few restrictions). In fact, these loans are a great tool for female entrepreneurs trying to kick start their businesses.
Whether you’re running a business from home – balancing homemaking and perhaps childcare with building the business of your dreams or – or charging full steam ahead at your goals, the SBA has an option for you.
5 Small Business Loan And Mentorship Resources For Female Entrepreneurs
1. SBA Express Loan Program
The SBA has for a long time offered the Express loan program to business owners needing quick money. This program is ideal for what Entrepreneur.com has called MOBs – mommy owned businesses – as they often don’t need huge sums of capital and simply need liquidity and capital for startup costs.
The advantage of Express loans is that an entrepreneur can qualify for them in as little as a few days.
While these loans are a part of the SBA’s main offering – the SBA 7(a) program – they are not specifically targeted towards women entrepreneurs. That said, the SBA has a number of programs targeted at female entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to help them achieve success with their businesses.
2. Office Of Women’s Business Ownership
Most notably among the programs for female owned businesses there is the aptly named Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Established in 1979, this program has become a staple at the SBA.
This office is focused on teaching women the skills they need to effectively run their businesses, in addition to getting them in contact with other resources that can help them.
The office offers this training and counseling in a number of different languages to make it as accessible as possible. They focus on women who are socially and economically disadvantaged so they too can experience success.
3. Women-Owned Small Businesses
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership distributes its resources through the SBA’s district offices, which can be found in most states. In particular, advice can be had here about how to apply for SBA loans.
Representatives will work with entrepreneurs to help them find the best financing options for their businesses and fill out the appropriate paperwork. If they decide that an Express loan is the best option, they can help you apply for one of these.
There is also a contractor program directed at WSOB’s, or Women-Owned Small Businesses. This is meant to provide preferential access to federal contracts to female business owners by helping them understand the federal contracting process.
The federal government has stated it wants to have 5% of all its contracts be with WSOBs, something this office of the SBA is working hard on achieving.
4. National Women’s Business Council
In addition to those stated above, the SBA lists a number of other resources for females starting their businesses.
Perhaps the most important is the National Women’s Business Council made up of 15 representatives that advise the President, Congress, and the SBA on policies and actions they can take to benefit female entrepreneurs. The body is meant to be nonpartisan and non-ideological.
Pivoting back to funding programs for women’s businesses, the 8(a) program is a great tool that all female business owners should be aware of. To qualify, a business owner has to prove they are economically or socially disadvantaged.
Additionally, you must show you have less than $250,000 in net worth, in addition to a few more economic disqualifiers. If you can receive certification, you will gain access to their mentorship program. Proteges receive advice from their mentors on all sorts of topics, including business decision making, administrative issues, and financial decisions.
In particular, the 8(a) program is great for matching entrepreneurs with SBA loans. By discussing with your mentor and other staff from the program, you can discover if an SBA Express loan is a good option for your business.
5. Know Your Options
Looking at the SBA’s different programs, there is no shortage of support for women seeking to establish themselves in the marketplace. No doubt, there are many women who could benefit from these programs.
When Elaine Rau was starting out with LadyBossBlogger, investing her last few dollars in a website URL, she could have used something like this. Fortunately for Americans, we have access to these sorts of program.
If you have already started your business, are still planning it out, or are just wondering what could be, now is the time to explore the SBA, their loans, and all the different resources they offer to help you make your dreams come true!