Close the Gap: Resources for Women-owned Small Businesses

October is National Women’s Small Month and The Greenhouse recognizes the month locally with #StPeteSupportsHer and promoting economic awareness, providing relevant accessible resources for women entrepreneurs and celebrate the successes of our local women-owned businesses in St. Pete!

Women entrepreneurs are making waves in the small business economy. According data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 58% between 2007 and 2018, at a rate nearly five times higher than the overall average.

Even with this proven growth and advancement, women business owners continue to face challenges when starting or growing a small business. One ongoing obstacle:  access to equal funding. According to Fundera’s State of Small Business Lending Report 2019, despite the fact that women secured similar funding amounts as men, men entrepreneurs were 20% more likely to receive a loan. Women entrepreneurs also reported lower business revenues and profits compared to men.

Narrowing down data to the state level, Tampa’s Embarc Collective completed a 2020 Glaring Gap Report: a look at Florida startup statistics that compares the state’s metrics to national trends. The report showed that even though the number of women-founded startups in Florida that raised early stage venture funding increased over time, they still received a disproportionately small share—12%—of early-stage VC dollars over the course of the decade study period. 

Join Embarc Collective for the 2021 Glaring Gap Summit starting November 3. 

How can women entrepreneurs improve these staggering disparities? Close the gap!  The pool of information and resources available to help women entrepreneurs to start and advance their business is growing, and many of these resources are available for free. Read more…read more…

Close the Gap

  1. The Greenhouse
    Hey, it’s us! The Greenhouse serves as St. Pete’s home of small business empowerment to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset and create opportunity for all. The office is a unique public-private partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and The St. Pete Area Chamber of Commerce and helps to foster an equitable community where all business owners have access to the resources necessary to start, grow and thrive.  Services include business consulting and mentoring, small business navigation, grants and incentives for small business, and industry specific signature programs.

    According the the 2021 Greenhouse Equity Scorecard, women entrepreneurs totaled 68% of clients served in FY 2021, and 42% of those women were minority entrepreneurs. Not to mention, The Greenhouse is 100% woman managed and operated.

  2. The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre
    The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre helps female entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses by providing free business coaching, webinars, trainings, networking opportunities and access to financial resources. Now in its sixth year of operation, the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre is the only SBA-designated women’s business centre on the west coast of Florida. Their offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL which enables them to provide services to entrepreneurs in Hillsborough, Hernando, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco and Manatee counties. The Tampa Bay WBC is funded in part by the US Small Business Administration (SBA).  All of their services are offered in Spanish.

  3. Business and Professional Women/ St. Petersburg-Pinellas
    BPW’s mission is achieving equity for all women in the workplace. Through BPW, women can make the right connections and advance in their career and industry.

  4. Tampa Bay Wave: TechWomen Rising Accelerator
    Empowered women can change the world.  Tampa Bay Wave wants to help women founders create innovative solutions to make the world a better place while also helping them close the gaps faced by women entrepreneurs everywhere. Powered by JPMorgan Chase, Tampa Bay Wave’s new TechWomen Rising Accelerator is a 90-day business accelerator program designed for women-led startups enabled by technology. Participants will benefit from intensive mentoring, peer networking, investor coaching, and by establishing business connections.

  5. Working Women of Tampa Bay
    Being a woman in business has its challenges. Working Women’s networking group can provide members with an endless array of benefits. Join the fastest growing network group in Florida today, by completing the membership application, or contact the organization to learn more about a visit.

  6. SBDC Pinellas County
    The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED), assists existing and emerging businesses in Pinellas county, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. The Florida SBDC at PCED Center is part of the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business region. Whether starting, buying, growing or selling a business, the Florida SBDC at USF has what entrepreneurs need to grow and succeed. Consultants can assist entrepreneurs in a variety of business areas, including: marketing, business certification, capital access, market diversification, developing strategic business plans, export services, and web optimization.

  7. Pinellas County SCORE
    Pinellas County SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed. We offer free personal, confidential mentoring and educational workshops virtually and in-person.

  1. SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership
    The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.

    In addition to the InnovateHER annual competition, the Small Business Administration’s OWBO (founded in 1979) offers resources like a national Women’s Business Centers Directory and government procurement opportunities and training

  2. National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)
    The NWBC promotes and protects the interests of women-owned businesses by acting as the only independent advisory council to the US government. In addition to playing an influential role in small business laws and policies, the NWBC hosts a variety of business owner roundtables as well as free webinars every Wednesday.

  3. International Association of Women
    Members of the International Association of Women can connect directly with thousands of like-minded women business owners online right from their home or workspace. Members can join location or industry-specific online networking groups, and attend virtual business development training and mentorship sessions.

  4.  Ladies Who Launch
    Ladies Who Launch provides women and non-binary entrepreneurs with learning, development and networking opportunities. You can browse their blog, listen to their podcast and webinar recordings and join their Slack community to discover other women-owned businesses.

  5. Moms As Entrepreneurs (MAE)
    Moms As Entrepreneurs was founded to help moms succeed with opening and running their own businesses. MAE provides mom-preneurs with entrepreneurial education, financial education and support through networking. In May 2020, they launched an ongoing COVID-19 community fund for mom-owned businesses across all industries.
Additional Noteworthy Resources

Fundworthy’s List of Resources for Female Entrepreneurs: Funding and accelerators, networks, and blogs & Podcasts

The Balance Small Business: Online Resources for Female Small Business Owners

National Funding: 10 Tips and Resources for Women-Owned Businesses