Editor's note: For the month of April, we will feature articles on women in business and the types of assistance there is to help women-owned businesses.
There may have never been a better time to be in business as a woman than right now. Women-owned businesses are growing (there was 20.1% increase from 2002 to 2007 alone, according to the National Women's Business Council), which is doing great things for the economy as a whole.
It's true that the logistics of maintaining a farm and the skills of training a horse are not something you can get advice on from the average business consultant, but for the pen-and-paper, business-planning, finance-securing details, there is a wealth of resources out there, with many of them tailored to women-owned businesses. Here's a round-up of three organizations that are here specifically for you, plus one that assists business owners of all genders:
National Association of Women Business Owners (www.nawbo.org) As the name implies, NAWBO's aim is to promote and empower women entrepreneurs in all fields. Nationally, the organization offers conferences, seminars and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Development. Locally, individual chapters offer face-to-face networking opportunities among women business owners, educational speakers and opportunities for community involvement.
Small Business Administration Office of Women's Business Ownership (https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/wbo) We will have an article about SBA's OWBO free services, including the Women Business Centers program, in an upcoming article titled “What the SBA Can Do for You.”
American Business Women's Association (www.abwa.org) Similar to NAWBO, ABWA is for women in business, regardless of whether they are the business owner. Mentorship, education and networking through the national and more than 300 local groups are some of the benefits of ABWA involvement.
SCORE (https://www.score.org/) While SCORE, a nonprofit SBA resource partner, is not specifically women-focused, the organization has traditionally served more women entrepreneurs than men—56% women, according to Aliana Marino, communications manager for SCORE. SCORE has provided free business counseling services, from start-up to marketing and financial planning, to more than 10 million small-scale businesses since its founding in 1964.
This list is just a look at the national organizations assisting women entrepreneurs in all professions. It doesn't include the help available to all entrepreneurs, to organizations at the state and local levels, or to groups just for ag businesses. (Stay tuned for an upcoming article this month on ag resources.)