Let’s start with the good news. According to the recent State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019. Even better, the number of women-owned businesses has grown at 5x the national average since 2007, with an average of 1,072 new ones opening each day. Exciting stuff for small business women, right?
Truly founding a business has become a badge of honor for women — and 79% of U.S. women entrepreneurs say they feel more empowered now than they did five years ago.
Despite those statistics, however, women still struggle mightily with the funding gap. Sixty-six percent of those women entrepreneurs report difficulty in obtaining the financial support they need to get their business off the ground, and this Columbia study found that female-led ventures are 63% less likely to receive venture capital (VC) funding, despite all the data showing that VC-backed female-led ventures are just as likely to achieve exits through IPOs or acquisitions. The third edition of Salesforce’s SMB Trends Report lists access to capital as the #1 constraint on small business women.
Starting a business is notoriously grueling, but that funding gap can make it even tougher for women. Fortunately, there’s support if you know where to look. Here are some free resources we’ve collected to help small business women on the journey to success.
Communities and apps
These great communities — online and mobile — lift up women entrepreneurs and leaders via networking, mentors, events, and inspiration.
- PepTalkHer. This app helps you track your career and everyday wins. Just enter all your great #HumbleBrags, then add supporting photos or data. Take it to your annual reviews for positive proof of your workplace prowess.
- Ladies Who Launch. Now more than 100,000 members strong, this org seeks to inspire women entrepreneurs. They offer free events, workshops, articles, help with business plans, and templates for contractor agreements.
- AllRaise. This respected org offers an absolute wealth of resources for women founders, including Female Founder Office Hours and programs to accelerate women in venture capital.
- She’s Next. Visa’s small business women’s initiative, this group offers informative workshops, free business tools, and meaty content for women entrepreneurs around the world.
- #IAmRemarkable. This Google initiative empowers women and other underrepresented groups via online workshops, networking challenges, and a library of virtual talks available on demand.
- I Fund Women. This group’s mission is to empower women with the confidence, knowledge, and funding they need to bring their visions to life. They offer resources to help raise capital, find coaching, and make connections.
Podcasts focused on women in business
These women-forward podcasts are a fantastic way to pick up new strategies, hear from savvy leaders, and learn from the founders getting it done daily.
- She Leads. This weekly podcast features respected female leaders from all industries who let listeners know what it takes to rise to the top.
- Latina to Latina. The perfect combination of funny and meaningful, this podcast discusses the challenges Latinas face in the business world — from career growth, to families, to persistent systematic inequalities.
- Women in Tech. This podcast amplifies the stories of the many successful women in tech — from founders and investors to engineers and UX/UI designers.
- Being a Boss. A podcast for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers, this one digs into the mindsets, habits, routines, and tactics that help you make money doing what you love.
- The Pitch. Listen as aspiring entrepreneurs pitch to real investors. This is a great way to learn more about venture capital plus new ways to tell and sell your story.
- Great Women of Business. Each episode tracks a businesswoman who’s had a profound, yet underappreciated, effect on our world.
- Secrets of Wealthy Women. Learn how to create a path to financial success with this podcast designed to help women empower themselves.
Funds investing in women founders
Our own Salesforce Impact Fund invests in the growth of companies tackling issues related to workplace development, equality, sustainability, and the social sector. We asked the fund’s impact investors to recommend a few angels, VCs, and funds that support women entrepreneurs.
- Rethink Impact
- BBG Ventures
- Gingerbread Capital
- Pivotal Ventures
- BRAVA Investments
- Backstage Capital
- BDC’s Women in Tech Fund
- StandUp Ventures
- Pipeline Angels
- The Artemis Fund
Fun follows on Twitter
A simple way to find inspiration and advice is to follow some phenomenal women leaders on Twitter. Here are a few powerhouses suggestions; they’re helpful, confident, honest, and real.
- Arlan Hamilton — Founder of Backstage Capital
- April Underwood — Founder of #Angels
- Lolita Taub — Venture Partner and Catalyte Chief of Staff
- Jennifer Tejada — CEO of PagerDuty
- Mallun Yen — Founder of Operator Collective
- Sallie Krawcheck — Founder of Ellevest
- Minda Harts — Entrepreneur and author
- Carolyn Rodz — Entrepreneur and small business advocate
- Leslie Feinzaig — Founder and CEO of the Female Founders Alliance
- Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon — Founder and CEO of the Founder Gym
Health and wellness
Starting and running a business is tough — on both the mind and the body. It’s important to take care of yourself as you go. Here are a few of our favorite free resources to help.
- Headspace. This popular app offers free content on healthy living, plus a paid app that includes exercises and videos on meditation, sleep, and stress.
- Ten Percent Happier. The free version of this app offers basic meditation training, plus daily reminders and data tracking.
- Gratitude. This app tracks what you’re grateful for and lets you create a vision board with photos and words that represent your goals and dreams.
- Seven. Bolstered by research on how to achieve the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time, this app offers a series of seven-minute workouts.
- Peloton. This comprehensive exercise app lets you stream yoga, strength training, cardio, and meditation classes free for 30 days.
Salesforce Essentials helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.