There is no denying that women-owned businesses significantly impact the U.S. economy. In fact, according to the Economics and Statistics Administration of the United States Department of Commerce, just five years ago 7.8 million businesses were women-owned, and those businesses brought in a staggering $1.2 trillion in sales receipts. As if that’s not impressive enough, just consider that women-owned business employed 7.6 million workers in the U.S. at a time when jobs were seriously hard to come by.
Women-owned businesses are a huge part of the U.S. economy, and because of that it’s in every citizen’s interest to see them succeed. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of resources for women business owners covering a range of government, private, and non-profit organizations.
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
The NAWBO professional group was originally found in 1975 and presents itself as “the unified voice of America’s more than 10 million women-owned business.” It’s a dues-based association that represents women’s interests in all industries. The group maintains more than 7,000 members and supports 70 different chapters across the United States.
Women’s Leadership Exchange(WLE)
The WLE is a social organization for women entrepreneurs. It was founded by businesswomen, and it works to help women “fill in the information gap” and “provide a venue for building connections that will facilitate their success in business and in life.” The organization provides a multitude of resources including conferences, business coaching, interactive programming, teleconference and a leadership development program.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council(WBENC)
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council started in 1997. It certifies businesses owned, controlled, and operation by women in the U.S. The organization serves as an “advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations.” It accomplishes this by acting as a liaison for corporate member that run a Supplier Diversity program and women-owned businesses.
Also founded in 1997, the WomanOwned.com site serves more than 3.5 million women entrepreneurs across the globe. The site, founded by entrepreneur Christina Blenk, offers assistance in online business information and networking to help women get their hands on the resources they need to launch, run, and grow their businesses. The site includes a searchable database of women business owners from all industries in just about every country in the world.
Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership was established in 1979 and is part of the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA). It oversees Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) throughout the U.S. which provide assistance to women entrepreneurs who are “economically or socially disadvantaged” by offering training and counseling to women business owners. Resources include the Gateway for Women-Owned Businesses Selling to the Government and a comprehensive business directory.
In order to succeed, any business owner must maintain ties with her customers, her community, and supportive organizations that provide invaluable resources from launch to expansion. Hopefully, these resources will give you a starting point for achieving your dreams as a business owner. For more resources for women business owners, read: 47 Online Resources for Women Small Business Owners.
Are you a business owner who has benefitted from connections with a women’s business organization? Tell us about it in the comments.