Programs have been created exclusively for women to address cultural barriers, educational differences and business obstacles. Continuing education is critical to your development and a way to close the gap. Here are a few places to look for courses you might be interested in or in areas you want to improve.
Take Advantage of Programs
- Local public libraries — A great resource that frequently distribute materials about small business training for entrepreneurs of every stripe.
- SBA resources — An online resource that provides information about all aspects of entrepreneurship from forms of legal incorporation to social media to financing.
- SCORE — Free, confidential business advice from retired professionals and entrepreneurs.
- Small Business Development Centers — Free business consulting and low-cost training services from the Small Business Administration. Expertise includes business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financing, exporting and importing support, procurement and contracting aid, market research help and health care guidance.
Exclusively for Women
- Tory Burch Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business — An education training program for women-owned small businesses.
- Women Business Development Centers — A network of 100+ SBA centers designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses.
High-Growth Accelerators/Bootcamps/Training Programs
Accelerator programs are intensive business training programs. They’re a place to find community, advice, support and even seed money. These programs vary in structure and timeline. Some are completed virtually, others require relocation for the program term. Some run for two weeks, others for 12 weeks. Your best fit will depend on your availability and mobility.
- 500 Women — Investing $1 million in total in 10 women-backed companies. The 500 Women syndicate backers will invest additional capital as well.
- Access Latina — An accelerator program for Hispanic women entrepreneurs in the fields of STEAM, social innovation and agriculture.
- Babson College’s Women Innovating Now Lab — Provides women entrepreneurs with a community and rigorous training.
- Circular Board — An accelerator for growth-oriented female entrepreneurs who lead or aspire to build multimillion dollar companies.
- Digitalundivided — Supports women-of-color entrepreneurs with support and training.
- Dreamit Athena — An accelerator program that connects startups to capital, customers and community.
- EBW2020 — Delivers mentorship, training, products and services to current and future women entrepreneurs that allows them to build sustainable businesses.
- MergeLane — Discovers, accelerates and invests in exceptional women-led companies.
- Million Dollar Women — Provides training to women entrepreneurs who want to grow big.
- SheStarts — Supports the growing pipeline of women entrepreneurs in Boston through networking, coaching and events.
- Springboard Enterprises — Educates, sources, coaches, showcases and supports high-growth, women-led companies in health care, technology and media that are seeking equity capital for expansion.
- Women’s Startup Lab — A year-long accelerator program, kicked off with a two-week intensive residential program in Silicon Valley.
Your chances for growth are enhanced when you have customers from Fortune 1000 companies or government agencies that are spending billions on goods and services. Certification opens the doors for women-owned enterprises. Check out Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled and operated by women in the United States. They can help you get your foot in the door with the big spenders.
Seek Sage Counsel
Experience is valuable. Make sure your network includes mentors who can give advice and guidance. Continuing your education should also entail making connections with movers and shakers who are willing to use their clout to open doors for you.
Your small business may benefit from an advisory board to provide constructive advice, track current and future marketplace trends, facilitate funding, recruit talent and suggest alliances. Since it’s your business, you can select the board members. Choose people who are industry or subject matter experts. Consider customers, prospective clients and investors. You can dictate how often you meet — whether it’s monthly, quarterly or otherwise — depending on how hands-on you want them to be.