The financing options for small businesses are varied and include crowdfunding, personal loans, small business grants and business credit cards. For women entrepreneurs who are starting up or need to bolster their existing small business, it’s important to know about the funding and loan options available to them. Women-owned small businesses can also benefit from the resources and programs offered by their local communities or through the federal government, such as the more than 160 Women’s Business Centers across the country that offer counseling, training and business advice.
Many traditional lenders have a difficult time approving women-owned small businesses for loans. Often, banks require lengthy application processes that can be difficult for women to manage, and if they are able to approve the loan, the terms of the repayment schedule can put an unfair burden on female business owners by forcing them into debt over a long period of time.
Some alternative lending marketplaces, such as Credibly, specialize in providing women-owned small businesses with a variety of financing options. They offer easy-to-use application processes, fast approvals and flexible terms to suit the needs of different business types. For example, Credibly offers short-term three- to 18-month working capital loans and longer term two- to five-year loans for a range of purposes, including purchasing inventory, expanding operations or hiring staff.
Nonprofit lenders and community financial development institutions, or CDFIs, also offer a wide range of financing options for women-owned businesses. These organizations can provide flexible terms and lower interest rates than other lenders, making it easier for women to obtain the funds they need to keep their businesses running smoothly. In addition, they can provide funding to entrepreneurs with less than stellar credit scores, as well.
Lastly, women-owned business owners can look into venture capital and angel investments to secure additional funding for their companies. These options, however, come with their own sets of challenges. The primary issue with seeking venture capital is that it requires the entrepreneur to sacrifice some of their equity ownership in exchange for the money, and this may be a big risk for some women who are just getting started with their business endeavors.
Fortunately, there are numerous funding options available to women-owned businesses at every stage of growth. By focusing on these options, women-owned business owners can take the steps needed to improve their chances of securing funding for their businesses and help them reach their full potential. In addition, women-owned business can also seek out guidance and advice from their communities and the federal government, which includes programs such as the Women’s Business Centers and the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. These resources can help a woman-owned small business with a number of critical aspects of the business, from creating a sound business plan to preparing for financial management. The resources are available through both online and offline channels, including webinars, workshops and conferences. In addition to these in-person resources, women-owned business can also access free information and support from the various business mentoring programs offered by their local chambers of commerce. Business Loans for Women