Lydia Jones was just a teenager when she created an app, and the young entrepreneur needed advice on how to turn it into a viable business. Looking for guidance, she reached out to a self-described startup expert for suggestions on how to find local mentors.
Instead, a well-respected businessman responded with questions about Jones’ sex life, asking her to share intimate details. When Jones tried to redirect the conversation back to business, he doubled down and pressed her for more information before she ended the conversation.
While Jones’ story is disheartening, it’s unfortunately not uncommon — especially for those in the technology field. According to the Kapor Center for Social Impact, one in 10 women in technology experience unwanted sexual attention.
Fears about sexual harassment can scare women away from pursuing grants, professional networks, and mentors, hurting their business and professional growth.
6 organizations that can help
Thankfully, there are programs designed specifically to help female entrepreneurs. You can get the advice and training you need without worrying about sexual harassment or unwanted advances.
If you have a business idea or are starting your own small company, these six resources can help you take it to the next level.
1. 37 Angels
37 Angels is an organization led and run by women investors. As angel investors, they focus on providing startups with the funds they need to grow and expand. Business owners can receive up to $150,000 for things like product development, inventory, or process improvement.
However, 37 Angels isn’t just about money. What sets the organization apart from other seed investors is that it also connects startups with seasoned mentors. When 37 Angels accepts your company and invests money into it, the investors will ask where you need help.
Once you’ve identified where you need expert assistance, 37 Angels turns to its network of investors to help you with issues like making business contacts or expanding your headcount. Mentors come from many different fields, including marketing and finance, so you can get the advice you need from people who work in your industry.
Astia is a nonprofit organization in Silicon Valley that’s dedicated to identifying and promoting female entrepreneurs.
Through the Astia network, entrepreneurs get access to expert advisors and peers to share ideas. They also get feedback from experts to perfect their business plan and maximize their chances of success. Entrepreneurs can even get the funding they need to build their businesses.
3. National Association of Women Business Owners
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is a robust network of over 5,000 female entrepreneurs. Members have access to events, seminars, leadership development courses, and business classes.
The organization also offers discounts to partner companies, such as UPS and Southwest. These discounts help reduce your costs so you can produce more revenue and expand your business.
NAWBO is a due-based organization. New members can join with a $75 initiation fee and a monthly fee of $39.95.
4. Office of Women’s Business Ownership
If you’re ready to make your dream a reality, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) can help. OWBO has women’s business centers in nearly every state, along with district offices and local partners.
At these centers, women entrepreneurs can get access to credit lines and receive training in finance, business, and marketing.
The Small Business Administration even has loan programs just for women business owners. According to OWBO, startup owners who work with the business centers have a higher survival rate than other small businesses.
5. The Women’s Venture Fund
The Women’s Venture Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps women build successful businesses in urban communities. Offering entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and small business loans, the Women’s Venture Fund accelerates the growth of startups.
Unlike some organizations that offer online courses, the Women’s Venture Fund offers one-on-one sessions with an advisor. You can meet with the advisor to discuss roadblocks, create a business plan, develop a customer relations plan, or review your business’ finances.
It also offers in-person training seminars that cover topics such as how to apply for a business loan and how to get free publicity for your company.
If you need a loan to help your business expand, the Women’s Venture Fund also offers flexible loans. However, they’re only lending to residents in New York and Long Island right now.
6. Women Who Startup
Women Who Startup is a global network of female entrepreneurs. It connects you with professionals to collaborate about ideas and projects to build your company. It also offers workshops and training programs.
The Women Who Startup podcast celebrates women in technology and female entrepreneurs. It profiles successful businesswomen and offers advice on managing and growing your business.
Launching your business
As a business owner, asking for help can be intimidating. And because incidents like the one Jones experienced are so common, you might be wary of reaching out to experts online.
But the above organizations offer a safe learning environment for women leaders to get the training they need, mentorship, and a network of other professionals. If you’re ready to become an entrepreneur and join the ranks of thousands of women business owners nationwide, here are grants that can help you get started.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.16% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|7.73% – 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upstart|
|6.26% – 14.87%1||$5,000 - $100,000||Visit SoFi|
|6.99% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upgrade|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000||Visit Payoff|
|4.99% – 29.99%3||$10,000 - $35,000||Visit FreedomPlus|
|5.99% – 18.99%4||$5,000 - $50,000||Visit Citizens|
|15.49% – 34.49%5||$2,000 - $25,000||Visit LendingPoint|
|6.16% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000||Visit LendingClub|
|6.99% – 18.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000||Visit Earnest|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000||Visit Avant|