7 Ways to Support Female Entrepreneurs
By Stephanie Vozza
Women own approximately 12 million businesses in the United States today, and that number only continues to rise, according to SCORE’s Women’s Entrepreneurship report. In fact, within the last 10 to 12 years, women-owned businesses saw an incredible 45% increase. Female entrepreneurs have also had a big impact on the economy, employing almost nine million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.
Here are seven ways you can show these powerful business owners that you admire their efforts and pursuits.
1. Grow Your Network
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re just looking to expand your circle, it’s a good idea to connect with female business owners by networking. Several organizations hold events that focus on bringing women together, such as Create & Cultivate, Lean In Circles, Ellevate Network and the National Association of Women Business Owners. You can also meet others by participating in the groups’ online forums.
2. Become a Mentor
Once you’ve advanced in your career and grown your network, consider sharing your knowledge and expertise with another female entrepreneur. Become a mentor, or volunteer with an organization that matches business owners with mentors, such as SCORE or the Women Mentor Association. The Harvard Business Review surveyed CEOs with mentors and found that 84% have avoided costly mistakes and 69% claim to make better decisions, thanks to the mentorship.
3. Invite Women on Panels
If you’re organizing an event and need speakers or panel members, tap into your network of female entrepreneurs. The chance to talk about their business, challenges and successes will provide opportunities for exposure and networking.
4. Spread the Word
If you have a favorite female-owned business, don’t keep it to yourself. Promote the owner and the company on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Use the hashtag #BuyWomenOwned during October. You can also leave a positive review of the business on Yelp or Angie’s List.
5. Donate to Supportive Organizations
Help budding female entrepreneurs by supporting organizations that empower women and girls. Consider donating money and resources or volunteering your time. Some organizations that help young women include Strong Women Strong Girls, GirlStart and Girl Up. Similarly, groups that help women include Womentum, Tory Burch Foundation and Women’s Venture Fund.
6. Be a Connector
If you know someone who can help a female entrepreneur, make the introduction. New contacts can be extremely valuable to business owners. You may have someone in your network who can offer a female business owner the kind of knowledge or even funding resources to take their company to the next level.
7. Partner With a Female-Owned Business
Find ways to partner with other businesses that are owned by women. There are several ways to make a difference here. You can team up and host a special event. Promote others by passing out marketing literature or by taking out ads together.
Moving Your Business Forward
By supporting women-owned business, you not only help the entrepreneur — you help her family and her team as well. We can all go further when we go together.
Stephanie Vozza is an experienced writer who specializes in small business, finance, HR and retail. She has been a regular columnist for Fast Company for more than four years and her work frequently appears in Inc., Entrepreneur and Parade.