An Entrepreneur Ceiling?
A glass ceiling has been defined as “an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.” Most people don’t think a “Glass Ceiling” exists in the entrepreneur world. How could there be a glass ceiling when it’s your business and you are the boss?
Up until 1988, woman entrepreneurs needed a male co-signer to get a business loan. And when they started their business the deck was stacked against them. Women-owned businesses were virtually excluded from all government procurement activities. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Women’s Business Ownership Act. The law eliminated discriminatory lending practices and provided additional resources to help women business owners.
The number of women-owned businesses in 1980 was 26% and has risen to its highest level to date at 38%. There are currently 9.1 Million Businesses owned by women and they generate sales of $1.4 Trillion Dollars. As women continue to bust through the ceiling they still face barriers and need the right resources to reduce the risks (RTR).
Even though the Women’s Business Ownership Act eliminated discriminatory lending practices, women are still having issues securing funding. Studies have shown that most of the funding goes to male-owned businesses. There is a perception that the male-dominated investors are more comfortable lending to male-owned businesses.
How do you Reduce the Risks (RTR)? Women Business owners need to take full advantage of all the available resources: Start with the Small Business Administration SBA. The SBA is dedicated to helping women launch a new business and provides resources for funding, training, contracting, and more.
Next, try the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The NAWBO has over 5000 members and 60 Chapters. NAWBO provides women with the resources needed to drive their business and connect with other Women Business Owners.
Eileen Fisher (Minimum Grant of $10,000)
FedEx Small Business ($100,000 in grants available)
BBG Ventures (Every company in their portfolio has at least one female founder)
500 women (Invested in over 100 women-founded businesses in the last 4 years)
Belle Capital USA (Must have at least 1 female founder to apply for capital)
Golden Seeds (Early stage investment company focusing on women-led businesses)
The Women’s Venture Capital Fund (Focused on Women-Led teams in digital media and sustainable products and services)
Female Founders Fund (Early stage fund investing in female startups)
As women continue to bust through the ceiling they are doing so with outstanding results. Studies have shown that women-owned businesses or businesses with women leaders achieve greater success and fewer failures. It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago they had to ask a male relative for help to sign for a loan.