For women who are starting up and/or working to grow their own business, being able to get insights and guidance from other successful women entrepreneurs can deliver invaluable advantages. And in today’s digitally connected business world, such mentors do not necessarily have to be close by geographically as connections can be made and conversations can be conducted with ease via the internet.
Women business owners who are looking for online support, connections and other helpful guidance can consider the following six groups and resources. All of them are free and easily accessible with an internet connection:
- The U.S. Small Business Administration: The SBA offers a number of training and funding programs designed specifically to help women entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and stay competitive in the marketplace. Highlights among them include the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, which provides business training, counseling and help accessing credit and capital, and the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, which provides assistance to women-owned businesses competing for federal contracts.
- Women Entrepreneurs groups at Meetup: Meetup is an online service that aims to foster relationships between people who share similar interests. Created in 2002, the site accomplishes this by actively bringing like-minded people together in online groups as well as via in-person and virtual events. And Meetup’s 6,600-plus Women Entrepreneurs groups cover locations all over the globe, offering participants the opportunity to network and share ideas and advice with other business-minded women in their areas.
- SCORE: Supported in part by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE is a nonprofit organization that works to cultivate healthy small-business communities via guidance and education from the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors. And the organization’s SCORE for Women Entrepreneurs program delivers a range of resources and tools such as webinars, infographics and blogs created specifically for women entrepreneurs. It also provides free and confidential business advice from SCORE mentors, many of whom are businesswomen who have already found substantial success in their own business endeavors, to help participants achieve their business goals.
- IGNITE Her Squad: Created by a former Fortune 500 company marketing executive, the IGNITE Her Squad is personal development network for women with a focus on supporting members’ career success. The group strives to offer participants the inspiration and business know-how needed to achieve professional success. And some of the ways it accomplishes this include daily messages from the founder, live weekly coaching sessions with a Q&A-style format, and monthly masterclasses on topics such as money, time management, goal-setting and mental management.
- She Leads Media: Run by a woman instructor of courses on new venture creation and entrepreneurship, She Leads Media is geared toward helping its members start and nurture their own successful business ventures. Those who join gain access to networking opportunities with fellow businesswomen, an array of actionable content geared specifically toward women entrepreneurs and regular events featuring insights from leading experts and thought leaders from the business world.
- SHeCOMMERCE: Created to help women who operate online stores find success with their e-commerce ventures, SHeCOMMERCE is an online community focused on business education and enablement. The associated website houses a broad range of free educational resources for businesswomen, including expert guides, tutorials and blogs. And to help members with their websites, emails, social media and marketing efforts, the site also offers a collection of low-priced templates for quick download and easy implementation.
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