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With more than 12 million American companies now owned by women, there are several programs and organizations that exist to aid and guide women entrepreneurs. — Getty Images/Geber86

Over the years, women entrepreneurs have had to fight stereotypes, sexism and more in order to find success in the business world. Today, women-owned businesses account for more than 12 million American companies, which generate $1.9 trillion in revenue and employ 9.4 million workers. Here are 10 organizations, agencies and programs that can provide assistance to women business owners.

Association of Women's Business Centers

The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC), a nonprofit organization that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), works to help women-owned businesses by supporting and promoting Women’s Business Centers across the U.S. The SBA has more than 100 Women’s Business Centers around the country, where women can receiving training, mentoring and more. AWBC also holds events and webinars focused on networking and education.

Center for Women & Enterprise

The Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE), one of the largest regional nonprofits dedicated to helping women-run companies, works to empower businesses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Since 1995, the organization has worked with more than 45,000 women-owned businesses by providing education, training, technical assistance, microloans and certifications.

Ladies Who Launch

Ladies Who Launch takes a modern approach to empowering women entrepreneurs by hosting experiential events and connecting women via digital platforms. The organization’s mission is “support, celebrate, and educate women entrepreneurs throughout the world” and offers an online academy and a newsletter for those who can’t connect at in-person events.

Moms As Entrepreneurs

The nonprofit organization Moms As Entrepreneurs (MAE), if you couldn’t already tell from its name, has a clear mission to support the “mom entrepreneur community” by providing training and financial education. MAE hosts various classes and events, and it works to connect mom entrepreneurs with funding.

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On top of providing guidance and funding help, the U.S. Small Business Administration also offers the ability for women-owned businesses to compete for set-aside federal contracting.

National Association for Female Executives

The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) plays a key role as a promoter and supporter of women in executive positions, including women who own and run businesses. The NAFE has provided education, networking and advocacy since its founding in 1972. Each year, the organization hosts events to honor companies that “demonstrate effectiveness in moving women to senior ranks” and to highlight individual women executives who have shown excellence.

National Association of Women Business Owners

Since 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has worked to represent and advocate for women entrepreneurs all over the U.S. The organization helps its members by hosting in-person and online events, offering an institute and resources to help all women-business owners learn and promoting public policy solutions to government leaders.

National Women's Business Council

The National Women's Business Council (NWBC) is a nonpartisan federal advisory council that provides advice and recommendations to Congress, the SBA and other facets of government on behalf of improving the economic outcomes of women-owned businesses. As part of its mission to advocate for women, the organization also hosts helpful roundtables and webinars that provide advice and education.

SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), part of the Small Business Administration (SBA), works to “enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support.” The OWBO oversees more than 100 locally based Women’s Business Centers, which can provide guidance and technical assistance to women-owned businesses around the country.

SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting

On top of providing guidance and funding help, the U.S. Small Business Administration also offers the ability for women-owned businesses to compete for set-aside federal contracting. The federal government has a goal to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned businesses each year. As such, some contracts are restricted to women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and some are set aside for economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). To take part in this program, women-owned businesses must first get certified by the SBA.

Women Impacting Public Policy

Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a nonpartisan national public policy organization founded in 2001, works to advocate at the national level on behalf of women-owned businesses. While policy advocacy is the primary objective, WIPP also plays a role in educating women entrepreneurs on policy and legislative matters to help them become better advocates in their own communities, including on issues such as health care, procurement policies, taxes and more. The organization hosts a robust number of events that include networking, education and celebrations honoring women business owners.

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Published July 24, 2020