Grow Her Business
Grow Her Business supports women entrepreneurs’ commitment to growing their businesses by providing information on nearly 200 resources to help along the way. Resources and programs for growth-focused entrepreneurs are hosted by corporations, nonprofits, and governments alike. Read more about resources available to help you create, start, scale, or grow your business to its full potential. When you find a good fit, click on the resource name to browse premier programs in that category.
Accelerators and Incubators
Time-delimited programs that offer technical assistance, peer feedback, investor access, and working space to entrepreneurs in the start-up stage. Top-notch programs offer elite connections, but entrepreneurs should be prepared to devote 1 to 3 months to full-time, on-site work and potentially give up equity in the venture. Accelerators traditionally focus on the software industry, but accelerators have popped up in food, fashion, and social services. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking, finance, or technical assistance component.
Alternative Lender Programs
Lenders that offer financial capital for early-stage, small, or risky ventures that traditional banks are unlikely to serve. They typically operate as loan programs with nontraditional features, such as a “matching” loan, a “microloan,” or less-stringent lending conditions. Operated through nonprofit organizations or online platforms, alternative lenders may provide much-needed cash as your firm builds its credit rating. Grants are also included. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a finance component.
Prize-backed competitions for the best business plan, pitch, algorithm, product, or more. They generally require entrepreneurs to submit content electronically, but many also require in-person presentations. One or more cash prizes are awarded, and additional assistance with the business could be offered. Corporations and local governments host the competitions; sometimes universities participate, although these contests may be restricted to students. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a finance or technical assistance component.
Opportunities for networking and information, product, and resource sharing with other professionals. Industry and trade conferences focus on specific fields, while some conferences focus on entrepreneurs in general. They typically require a registration fee and are hosted by a membership organization but may be open to nonmembers. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking or education component.
Online platforms that allow entrepreneurs to raise capital from members of the general public who are interested in their ventures. The fundraising period is usually around 1 to 3 months, and the entrepreneur specifies some of or all the terms, such as the goal amount, whether an award will be provided to donors, and how to market the idea to attract donors. Some crowdfunding sites require owners to offer equity to donors or to operate the exchange as a loan. Many sites assess a 3%–8% fee if you reach your goal. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a finance component.
Online forums for those in the entrepreneur community to connect to others who may serve as paid advisers, co-founders, or other key roles in a start-up company. Like dating sites, some forums are free, and some have tiered, fee-based plans with a variety of accompanying functionality on their websites. Although the forums are virtual, the sites aim to connect people in the same city, so the quality and size of the community can vary by location. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking component.
Entrepreneur Mentor Groups
Programs that match local business owners based on industry or interest or where the mentor relationships form naturally through organized interactions. The mentor groups provide solo entrepreneurs and small business founders with accountability and support as they set and meet their business goals. The groups may have qualifying criteria, such as a minimum business size and minimum commitment requirements, so entrepreneurs can meet face to face and build trusting advisory and peer networks. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking component.
Executive Education & Training
Non-degree, business management courses (e.g., accounting, finance, human resources, leadership) and informational webinars. They help entrepreneurs formalize their operations and grow through a time-intensive educational format. The programs require in-person or virtual classroom time and out-of-class preparation time. The executive training courses are offered by universities, while other short-term webinars are also available through nonprofit organizations. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with an education component.
Affiliate or membership-based programs that focus small business resources in a specific industry and region. Your venture must be in the stated industry (often a high-tech or other exportable product industry) and region to participate, and additional qualifications may be required. Clusters provide networking opportunities for suppliers and buyers, referrals or on-site technical and business assistance, educational sessions and training, and financing opportunities. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking, finance, education, or technical assistance component.
Organizations that promote the interests and professionals in a specific industry, field, or interest group. They often require a membership fee and provide access to information, education, networks, online resources and forums, and more. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking component.
Cohort-based executive education programs focused on bringing established firms to the next level. These programs generally require 1 to 3 months of time-intensive and hands-on learning that provide tools, resources, peer feedback, and more to founders and chief-level executives across a range of industries. Many scale-up programs are hosted by nonprofit organizations and offered free of charge, although the application process can be competitive. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking or education component.
Supplier Development Programs
Programs to help entrepreneurs obtain corporate contracts through mentoring and education or by offering matchmaking events between buyers and suppliers. The programs develop the businesses generally but often with the goal of meeting the corporations’ requirements for suppliers. Participants typically must be registered as diversity suppliers with their corporations (e.g., women, minority, veteran) to apply. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a networking or technical assistance component.
Technical Assistance Programs
One-on-one advice and counseling on technical aspects of product development, exporting, government procurement, and more. These resources provide tailored business management or product development assistance, information, referrals, or tools. Many assistance centers and tools are suitable for a range of business stages and industries at no cost, while some specialize and may require a fee, so it is important to review each option. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a technical assistance component.
Venture and Seed Funding Networks
Organizations that provide financial capital and mentorship to start-up companies that are too unproven and risky for a traditional lender. Angels and seed funds focus on early-stage ventures, while venture capitalists focus on ventures with a proven product. Both typically require the entrepreneur to give equity stakes in the company in return for the capital provided. They often operate as networks of wealthy individual investors or as investment institutions. Selection is highly competitive and exclusive and is determined by the organization’s priorities and portfolio. Some funds focus on non-tech industries, such as fashion or food, but most seek ventures with market potential in the billions. If you do not find what you are looking for here, view all resource types with a technical assistance or finance component.