As women continue to blaze a trail in business, many female entrepreneurs are looking for financing options. The Small Business Administration is one of the best places for these women to go for help. The agency can connect these companies to lenders through its Lender Match tool and provide guidance for women-owned businesses through its network of Women’s Business Centers. The agency can also help these firms become certified as women-owned businesses (WOSB) or economically disadvantaged women-owned businesses (EDWOSB). This certification gives the firms access to exclusive set-aside opportunities for government contracting work.
The SBA offers a number of loan programs that can support women-owned businesses, including its flagship 7(a) program. These loans have long repayment terms and competitive interest rates. They can also be used for a range of purposes, from working capital to purchasing equipment or real estate. The agency also has a microloan program that provides funding to startup and early-stage women-owned businesses with lower financial qualifications than other government-backed loans. These are often provided through community development finance institutions and nonprofit organizations.
It’s important for business owners to research the specific requirements of the different women-owned business certification programs before applying. Some of these require significant documentation, like owner eligibility information, business entity formation and governance documents, and financial information. Some also have a long application process. The best way to determine if you’re eligible is to reach out to local resources, like SBA resource partners. These include more than 900 Small Business Development Centers, 200 local chapters of SCORE business mentors, and 400 Community Navigators. sba women owned business loans