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Long gone are the days when the words “business owner” and “women” were considered polar opposites. In fact, as of 2014, over 9.1 million firms are owned by women. Female-owned firms are making steady gains in everything from ownership to revenue generation.
With that said, female entrepreneurs still face the same big challenge in getting started: navigating business financing options and getting access to capital. Solving this piece of your new business puzzle may seem daunting, but with the right resources, obtaining a small business loan can help you make your dreams a reality.
While there is no magical, gender-specific loan out there, there are a few excellent resources available to help women like you secure the financial support you need.
Chances are, if you’ve been searching the internet for “business loans for women,” you’ve stumbled across the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), but if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and bookmark it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.
It’s true that financial support for growing businesses can be obtained through partnerships with a variety of lenders. But when it comes to small business loans, SBA-backed loans offer some of the best rates. And because the SBA insures loans for banks, you’ve got a better chance at actually getting approved, especially for a micro-loan (less than $50,000).
Proof of their dedication to small businesses, including those owned and operated by women, can be found in their 2014 fiscal year report which boasts a record breaking 52,044 7(a)loans approvals; that equates to a grand total of $19.19 billion dollars of entrepreneurial support and growth.
You know you need a loan to open your business, and now you have an idea of where you may have the best luck securing that loan, but what about all the other things you’ll need to start your journey?
Have no fear, SBA has your back. With 74 district offices nationwide and an impressive resource center that includes videos, online training, chat sessions and more, the experts at SBA will help you find your way from the nitty-gritty beginnings to the much awaited finish line.
Whether you’re ready to consider filling out a loan application, or you’re just ebbing out your plan, head over to SBA’s website to make sure you’re on the right track.
SBA can prove to be an invaluable tool, but another great resource is the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). On that note, you may want to bookmark their site as well.
In addition to helpful information about finance and access to capital, prospective and current female business owners can find a wealth of information, guidance, and a network of strong, like-minded female entrepreneurs.
As one of the only due-based organizations that represent and support women business leaders, NAWBO offers over 5000 members access to a wealth of resources included advocacy, leadership conferences, and valuable partnerships that can help you navigate through every stage of business growth. Though the organization does require membership for some of the benefits mentioned above, many of the online resources are free to the public, making their website a great place to gain knowledge.
Don’t let the red tape and logistics of acquiring a loan deter you from chasing your dream. If you have a solid business plan, fierce commitment to your goals, and a willingness to educate yourself on some of the basic ins and outs of finding financial support, you’re well on your way.