By Teresa M. Lundy
This month is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to reflect on the success of women in the past and present achieving their goals and making our society a better place. It is also an opportunity to think about our future as women. We need more women in executive roles at major corporations and more women business owners.
As I’ve learned on this journey to success, we have to create our own opportunities to succeed in business and build economic wealth.
It is vitally important to take advantage of the training, business development and grant opportunities available to women business owners. Here are 10 of the local and national resources that every woman starting, or growing, their business should know:
1. The Amber Grant
Founded in 1998, the Amber Grant Foundation (ambergrantsforwomen.com) awards $10,000 to a woman entrepreneur each month. The application is simple and should only take 10-15 minutes to complete.
2. National Association of Women Business Owners
This organization, founded in 1975, represents over 10 million women-owned business in the United States. They host events, provide resources, and offer professional development opportunities. Learn more about the NAWBO at nawbo.org.
3. Temple Small Business Development Center
This resource is part of the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. They provide no-cost consulting services to help entrepreneurs with forming a company, obtaining government contracts and loan preparation. Learn more at: www.fox.temple.edu/institutes-centers/small-business-development-center/.
4. Urban League Entrepreneurship Center
This critical part of the community has been doing great work under the current leadership of Andrea Custis and her team. In a recent year, they trained 569 small business owners, which resulted in the creation of new jobs and access to millions of dollars in contracts. They offer leadership, business development and career planning workshops. Find out more at: urbanleaguephila.org.
5. National Women’s Business Council
The NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory committee that advocates for women entrepreneurs before the U.S. Congress, the White House, and the Small Business Administration. They are working to increase access to capital and opportunity, STEM related opportunities, and identifying challenges faced by women in different types of businesses. They offer monthly webinars, roundtables, and public meetings to assist women entrepreneurs. Learn more at: nwbc.gov.
6. SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
Their mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. They help women business owners get certified and find federal contracting opportunities. Find out more at: https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-locations/headquarters-offices/office-womens-business-ownership.
7. The Enterprise Center
This organization supports entrepreneurs and provides business and financial services to help grow and sustain businesses. They have been one of the critical partners in Philadelphia helping businesses apply for PPP Loans, EIDL Applications and Certification(s), among other services. They also offer events and workshops on business topics. Learn more at: theenterprisecenter.com.
8. Women’s Business Enterprise Center
This organization is offering virtual workshops on all topics related to business, including practicing your pitch, business financials, creating an elevator pitch, and finding business opportunities. In addition, they offer workshops on how to do business with specific organizations, such as University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Philadelphia Gas Works, and others. Learn more at wbeceast.com.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak on a panel with The Philadelphia Chapter to discuss proactive steps women can take to move forward to achieving equity and inclusion. Learning more about this organization, it has proved to be an accomplished and diverse group of women networking with each other to learn, connect and find opportunities. They host virtual mentoring sessions and opportunities to meet members of their network for advice. Find out more at: www.ellevatenetwork.com/chapters/37-us-philadelphia.
10. SCORE Philadelphia
SCORE offers mentors and workshops to help grow small businesses solve problems. The organization offers specialized resources to help women business owners succeed. They highlight success stories to share the stories of prosperous women. In addition, this organization offers webinars, and articles such as “How Women Entrepreneurs Can Win Federal Contracts.” Find out more at philadelphia.score.org/women-entrepreneurs
In essence, utilizing opportunities for free and low-cost assistance has helped me reach more customers, grow my business and expand my professional network. Research, networking and a strong work ethic are necessary to succeed in today’s business climate.
I am confident these resources will help you on your path to success as a business owner.
As Marissa Mayer, former Yahoo CEO, has said, “I think the most interesting thing is what happens next.”
Teresa M. Lundy is the Principal and Founder of TML Communications, a strategic public relations, crisis communications and community engagement firm serving corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The firm has served clients including DoorDash, Lyft and the Reform Alliance.
Follow Teresa on Twitter @TeresaMLundy