The Opportunities and Challenges of a Woman Entrepreneur

The world now has more female entrepreneurs than ever, and the numbers are rising each year. More women, including women of color, are looking for business opportunities. They are capitalizing on their visions and making them a reality. Consequently, the workforce is becoming more and more diverse.

Things have never looked better for female entrepreneurs. Sadly, the numbers tell only part of the story. The obstacles met by women who have embraced business ownership are immense. They are also very distinct from those faced by their male counterparts. Female-owned businesses are still in the minority. Startup life is never easy, and attempting it as a female entrepreneur presents its own distinctive set of challenges.

Today, about ten million American women own businesses. Their endeavors account for about 3 trillion dollars added to the US economy each year. They have created around 23 million jobs. In almost two-thirds of this country’s families, women are the primary or co-breadwinner. Entrepreneurship is an outstanding choice that can offer more income. It also gives families access to more varied lifestyle choices.

In this article, we’ve put together a short report on the business funding opportunities open to women. We also look at the challenges women face in starting up and running a business.

Opportunities for Female Entrepreneurs

This site is a database of grants sponsored by the Federal Government, and it includes grants for small businesses. The benefits vary across different types of grants and government agencies. You may need to sort through various options to find the most relevant ones for your business. Over a dozen federal government agencies take part in the database.

Tory Burch Foundation

This foundation is about women helping women. The foundation offers up to $100,000 to help get woman-owned business rolling. Candidates have access to successful businesswomen who can provide advice and mentorship. They may also be eligible for a $10,000 grant for business education. The funding itself is excellent. But, this access to knowledge, experience, and connections is just as valuable.

InnovateHer Challenge

The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership is the sponsor of this grant. It provides federal funding to female entrepreneurs. whose businesses aim to empower women and otherwise enrich their lives. The winner gets $40,000, runner-up $20,000, and second runner-up $10,000.

Girlboss Foundation

It’s appropriate that a business named Girlboss lives up to its title and launch some of its fans into becoming female bosses. Women innovators can get a $15,000 grant to develop their businesses. Since it started in 2014, the Girlboss Foundation has distributed over $130,000. It awards grants every two years.

Other Funding Sources

Many other funding options are emerging for women entrepreneurs. These options include venture capital, angel networks, Kickstarter, and government grants. Women have access to a large number of entrepreneurship development programs. Sometimes it takes a little digging, but the opportunities do exist.

What are the Main Challenges for Female Leaders?

Gender Stereotypes

Most Americans see men as better suited for some positions. For example, they think men would be better at running a large oil or gas company. They are more likely to see a woman heading an event catering business or a retail outlet. The stereotyping problem is vast. Yet, women continue to break down gender barriers. As it becomes prevalent, public perception will change. Until then, we need to see gender stereotyping as a long-term problem. Everyone needs to play a part in bringing about the change.

Limited Funding

Not all companies are lucky enough to have a financier. Some have to raise capital on their own. Others depend on credit cards or bootstrap their business ventures. Women’s companies are among the leading enterprises that lack financial support. Many institutions tend to back male-owned businesses. It’s common for them to deny women loans due to gender and cultural biases. Also, female-led, innovation-driven startup companies aren’t getting enough venture capital funding. Woman-owned companies get less than 5% of venture capital.

Solutions to Problems Faced by Female Entrepreneurs

What can women and those who support them do to overcome these challenges?

  1. Address failure. Both males and females can fail in business. Hone your survival strategies. Learn to respond well to lost opportunities and mistakes and move forward.
  2. Seek help. It doesn’t matter if you need to deal with a particular business issue, or you’re looking to secure financing. Find the courage to ask for help.
  3. Share the stories. Provide the opportunity for other female entrepreneurs to shine. Storytelling serves as inspiration. It opens up networks for women to connect and mentor.

Women Entrepreneurs Have a Bright Future

You may need to work harder and be resourceful to get the respect of your male contemporaries. But, being a woman doesn’t have to hold you back as an entrepreneur.

There are now more successful businesswomen than ever. The CEO of Ellevest spoke of a “growing ecosystem supporting women entrepreneurs and woman-owned businesses.” The future of female entrepreneurship is bright. The returns are worth the struggle. But women must be aware that they may face different trials along their business journey.