Written by Bondstreet
Originally published on Bond Street.
The city of Atlanta is an ideal place to be a female entrepreneur, since, according to www.georgia.org, the state of Georgia “ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for fastest growth in the number of women-owned firms.” A study conducted by Intuit concluded that “more than a third of businesses in Atlanta are owned by women” and it “ranks sixth in the top cities for female entrepreneurs.”
This makes Atlanta a smart choice for women seeking to start their own business. Numerous non-profits provide resources for female entrepreneurs free of charge, and member organizations (some with fees to join) as well as social groups offer a variety of helpful services.
Check out the list below in order to get started with growing your business!
City Government & Non-Profit Resources
- SCORE Atlanta
SCORE Atlanta, a non-profit in existence since 1964, is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration, and they have close to 100 experienced business mentors in the Atlanta area. Regardless of the stage of the entrepreneur, they can provide assistance with their free mentoring and low-cost training.
WEDA, founded in 1996, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist women in achieving economic independence, creating opportunity, and building a business community via entrepreneurship. They offer a program of seminars, workshops, and their cornerstone Atlanta Microenterprise Initiative (AMI) course.
- Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program
The WOSB was created in February 2011 with the ambition of expanding the number of industries where women-owned small businesses were able to contend for business conducted with the federal government. This program allows Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) to vie for federal contracts specifically set-aside for EDWOSBs in arenas where WOSBS are underrepresented.
- The Business Professor
The Business Professor is a learning platform aimed at offering knowledge and providing resources to entrepreneurs. It is their belief that “lack of knowledge should never be an impediment to success.” This non-profit offers free business and legal resources are web-based, short, and easily-digestible.
- Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC)
The GWBC is a non-profit and credible resource delivering empowerment by way of certification, education, and access to companies interested in conducting business with women-owned businesses. They consider themselves to be “at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises.”
- Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC)
The GMSDC is the leading advocacy agency in Georgia for the development of small businesses. They have certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) for years, assisting them with growing their supplier/vendor capabilities and capacities, and then aiding in creating connections with companies who are looking for partners capable of adding value.
- Women’s Business Enterprises National Council (WBENC)
A non-profit organization founded in 1997, the WBENC is the “largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States.” They offer women-owned businesses throughout the country the chance to earn certification.
Accion provides affordable micro-finance services to small business owners in need. They have a nationwide reach and have used it to assist thousands of small business owners – frequently consisting of women and minorities – expand and succeed. Through offering access to capital and education about finances, Accion, a non-profit, is able to empower small business owners.
- Ivan Allen College’s Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (GWEI)
The GEWI aims to develop an impactful program in order to provide a platform for collaboration and innovation. This is done through cultivating connectivity and helping develop the entrepreneurial and business skills of Atlanta women. They connect women entrepreneurs working in a variety of industries with women of Atlanta at training sessions in order to develop business skills, create international contacts, and ease their access to global markets via exposure, networking, and knowledge sharing.
- Georgia Tech Women Alumnae Network
GT WAN is a networking group for women graduates of Georgia Tech. They offer networking opportunities and career resources, explore current women’s issues (i.e. work/life balance and career paths), and offer a variety of events on a quarterly basis.
Networks & Membership Organizations
- Gwinnett Women’s Small Business Collective
The purpose of the Gwinnett Women’s Small Business Collective Meetup is to provide networking and educational opportunities to local women-owned small businesses. Founded in 2007 and consisting of more than 700 members, they hold various events, all of which will have a networking and informational aspect, aimed at helping members grow their business.
- All About Business a Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs (AAB)
The AAB Meetup was founded in 2006 and serves as a professional group for women entrepreneurs and is made up of more than 1,500 members. Their primary purpose is to share leads and referrals, but they also have seminars and events with guest speakers in order to help educate their members.
The goal of the NAWBO is to level the playing field in order to help stimulate the growth for women-owned businesses, and they began doing so by pushing for legislation allowing women business owners to receive funding without the need of a male co-signer. Through providing connections, resources and support, NAWBO empowers business owners to thrive. Apply for membership here. Fees include a $100 initiation fee and monthly payments as low as $19.95 and as high as $39.95 per month depending on the type of membership.
- Femfessionals Atlanta
Femfessionals is a business hub and innovative community that grows businesses, while offering necessary support. Businesses of any experience level are welcome to join. There are three membership levels: Community for no fee; Business for $15/monthly, $125/yearly, or $375 for life; and Global for $40/monthly, $350/yearly, or $750 for life.
- Women’s Leadership Exchange (WLE)
The Women’s Leadership Exchange hosts an all-day interactive conference annually for established women business owners in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. Tickets range from $100 to $150.
- Factory Girls
Factory Girls is a fashion incubator geared towards high-level designers. They provide studio space and access to pattern makers, while striving to build the industry of local fashion. They also offer classes/workshops, lectures, and interactive discussions to engage with and educate the local fashion community.
Women2Contract is a social network that provides an online setting for aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, and more generally, anyone looking for business opportunities. Members are updated with information and resources regarding these opportunities, and they can also participate in discussions by connecting with members all around the world. Membership is free.
- Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC)
MPC offers opportunities for small businesses in Georgia to advance through an alliance with a corporate mentor for one year. The goal of this platform is to assist small businesses in being successful long-term by aiding in them in developing capacity, enhancing their skill sets, and increasing their competitiveness. In order for candidates to be considered, they must submit an application and then be screened based on a set of admissions criteria. There is a $100 application fee and a $1,500 program fee that is due upon acceptance.
- Ladies Who Launch
Ladies Who Launch offers inspiration and advice to female entrepreneurs. Their network consists of more than 100,000 women and they have reached millions through providing free events and workshops, in addition to expert advice and lessons learned through conducting thousands of interviews with women in business. Access to the information on their website is free.
- The Women’s Consortium of Georgia
The Women’s Consortium of Georgia offers a positive environment for women entrepreneurs/small business owners to thrive. They do so by furnishing “incubator support, training, education, business innovation strategies and coaching” from a variety of partners, with the goal of increasing business opportunities that create success. Membership costs $77/year.
- WEI Atlanta
WEI Atlanta works to revolutionize the inequities – both economic and social – faced by women business owners. They firmly believe that being a women and an entrepreneur are not mutually exclusive, and gender marginalization needs to be minimized so that talent can be maximized.
- The Women’s Employment Opportunity Project (WEOP)
WEOP is award-winning non-profit that furthers the economic growth of women, with a focus on women of color. Their work is focused on actions that empower women through teaching skills, while providing information and resources. Membership costs $100/year and $75 to renew.
- Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
WIPP is a nonpartisan public policy organization, campaigning for and on behalf of women and minorities involved in business in the U.S. legislative processes, generating economic opportunities and forming connections to other small business organizations. Membership is free as a “Coalition Partner,” costs $125/year to be an “Annual Member,” costs $500/year to be an “Advocacy Partner,” and costs $1,000/year to be a “National Partner.” Clickhere to join.
Resources for Women in Tech
- Women in Technology
Women in Technology enthusiastically supports women during all stages of their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. They do so through everything from educating middle and high school girls regarding opportunities in STEM, to offering networking and education for professionals. More than 2,500 professionals attend their programs and events. There is no membership fee to join.
- Women Who Code Atlanta
The Women Who Code Atlanta Meetup was founded in 2013 and consists of a community of almost 1,500 women in the tech world who hold free study groups, events with industry experts, and assist with career development.
StartupChicks was founded in February 2009 due to the realization of the lack of women attending local entrepreneurial events. Their membership now consists of more than 3,000 women worldwide and their goal is to connect “like-minded women” with mentors, while educating members by sharing best practices through seminars, programs, and workshops. Basic membership is free, but full-access membership costs $199/year, although they are not currently accepting applications for full-access.