As one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy, female entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with. But even successful women entrepreneurs often have trouble finding funding to grow their businesses. Traditional options like fundraising and borrowing from friends and family don’t always provide the amount of capital needed to accelerate growth. And other options, like taking on investors or securing a loan from a private lender, require the owner to give up a significant share of their business to gain access to capital.
Fortunately, there are financing solutions designed to meet the needs of women-owned businesses. One of those is the Small Business Administration (SBA) suite of loans for women, which provides low interest rates and long-term financing (7 years or more). The SBA also offers specialized programs for startup and microbusinesses, such as its popular microloan program. Other SBA loan programs, such as the 7(a) program, offer general-purpose working capital for more established businesses.
In addition to providing financing, the SBA helps women entrepreneurs connect with resources and support services through its national network of Women’s Business Centers and the National Association of Women Business Owners. The SBA also administers the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, which allows qualified women-owned businesses to compete for exclusive set-aside federal contracts.
To qualify for a SBA loan, your company must be 51% owned by a woman and meet the SBA’s size standards. Different agencies verify this information using different methods, like sworn affidavits and site visits. women small business loans