Empowering Through Opportunities: Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs in California

In Focus: Some Schemes & Initiatives offered to Women Entrepreneurs in California

#WomenEntrepreneurs #CaliforniaBusiness #EmpowerHerBiz #SchemesForSuccess #OpportunitiesForWomen

California stands out as a beacon of hope for women entrepreneurs, boasting the title of the best state for operating women-owned businesses. With nearly 40% of businesses in the state owned by women, surpassing the national average, California hosts the largest number of women-owned enterprises in the United States. These businesses contribute substantially to the state’s economic fabric, generating millions in revenue annually. However, alongside their successes, women entrepreneurs face distinctive legal challenges.

A recent 2023 study illuminates the significance of understanding and navigating these challenges to ensure seamless operations and protect revenue from potential legal entanglements. From tackling gender-based discrimination and ensuring equal pay compliance to safeguarding intellectual property and fostering regulatory compliance, women entrepreneurs in California must adopt a proactive stance. This proactive approach involves managing contracts, preventing sexual harassment, nurturing relationships, establishing robust business structures, crafting clear employee contracts, and maintaining financial transparency.

Let us delve into the unique business landscape faced by women-owned businesses in California, emphasizing the importance of preemptive measures. By addressing these challenges head-on, women entrepreneurs not only mitigate legal risks but also position their enterprises for sustained success in California’s competitive business arena.

Here are some schemes, initiatives and grants that are available for women entrepreneurs in California.

> California Women’s Business Centers

California Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) work to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women – by supporting and sustaining a statewide network of WBCs. These centers help women succeed in business by providing a number of facilities – like training, mentoring, business development, and financing opportunities.

They provide business training as well as one-one-one consulting for entrepreneurs and small business owners in their start-up or growth phases; they can meet with business advisers to get the guidance needed to start or grow business. Plus a variety of business workshops can be attended, to take your business to the next level & they help you connect with lenders to start or grow your business, and work with industry experts to accelerate your business.


> Small business resources for women entrepreneurs (for starting a New Business in California)
California Government Agencies
– San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development – OEWD

San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development‘s (OEWD) supports businesses of all sizes.

– California Office of the Small Business Advocate – CalOSBA

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) supports economic growth and innovation. They ensure that California small businesses and startups have the information and direct support they need to better navigate resources, programs, and regulations.

CalOSBA serves as the voice of small business, representing their views and interests across the state and advocating for equitable access to capital, markets, and networks so that all California small businesses successfully start, manage, grow & become more resilient.

– California Small Business Administration – SBA

The California SBA has six district offices located across California. Their services include – business funding programs, counseling, federal contracting, certifications & disaster recovery. They can also connect you to partner organizations, lenders, and other community groups that help small businesses succeed.

> Professional BusinessWomen of California – PBWC

Professional BusinessWomen of California provides – skill development, networking opportunities, and provide inspiration to women at all levels to achieve their own ambitions and collectively advance gender equity in professional settings.

Headquartered in Northern California, PBWC conducts community events, monthly webinars, and conferences for women’s professional and personal growth and development through tools, training workshops, resources, mentoring, and motivation.

Besides, the organization also presents an annual academic scholarship to high – achieving California women who are high school seniors.

> California Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations
Central Valley Women’s Entrepreneur Center – WE Center

The Central Valley Women’s Entrepreneur Center is a member of the Association of Women’s Business Centers and a Partnership Program with the Small Business Administration administered by California State University, Fresno. They offer a variety of business support services – to assist in starting, growing, managing or selling your small business.

The WE Center offers opportunities for businesswomen to better market their products or services through business planning, financial management, marketing, and the WE Center Incubator – a 6 week academy where entrepreneurial women have an individual closed office space, lounge area, and access to all of Fresno State Small Business University resources to help launch their business or non-profit organization.

Kern Women’s Business Center

Kern Women’s Business Center enhances opportunities for potential entrepreneurs and small business owners – to become self-sustaining, successful contributors to their communities.

Services fall under three primary categories:

The entrepreneurial training course, “Explore, Design and Launch,” helps equip you with the necessary knowledge, tools, and resources to start and/or grow your business.

Professional business consulting is provided at no cost. The organization has a team of consultants with extensive expertise in fields including marketing, organizational development, finance, management, and many more.

Business workshops are free and open to the public. These workshops are designed to enhance the understanding of important and current business topics, in addition to providing a networking platform.

California Small Business Development Center – CA SBDC

California SBDC supports small businesses with one-on-one consulting sessions and technical support – to help your business start, grow & prosper.

The SBDC’s confidential, one-to-one advising services include business plan development assistance, marketing and sales advice, financial management assistance, and more.

Additional support includes: Navigating budgeting, forecasting, financial statements, and tax requirements, Strategic planning, Access to funding, Access to capital & Interactive training sessions, available online and in-person.

National Association of Women Business Owners – (NAWBO) California Chapter

The National Association of Women Business Owners, California chapter propel women entrepreneurs by strengthening their wealth creating capacity and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community; creating innovative and effective changes in the business culture; building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers.

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

Women’s Economic Ventures is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills. WEV provides small business training, advisory services, financial literacy programs, and small business loans in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Classes enhance your business skills and strategies in a group setting led by experienced instructors. Consulting services connect you with expert business advisors for one-on-one coaching and guidance. WEV has also made more than $6.9 million in small business loans and helped nearly 5,300 local businesses start or expand. Funding – State and Federal Sources

U.S. Small Business Administration – Funding Sources

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps small businesses get the funding they need. Funding resources include:

  • Loans: Start or expand your business with loans guaranteed by the SBA.
  • Investment capital: Find an investor for your business. Investors make both debt
    and equity investments.
  • Disaster assistance: Get help after a disaster with low-interest disaster loans.
  • Surety bonds: Protect your work and your client with an SBA-guaranteed surety
  • Grants: Look for government grants that help businesses do scientific research
    and development.
California Capital Financial Development Corporation

California Capital Financial Development Corporation’s loan guarantee and microloan program helps secure financing for small businesses unable to access mainstream financing.
Loan products include:

– Microloans of up to $50,000 are available for small businesses in Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Lassen, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba counties.

– Small loans up To $150,000 are available for business in Sacramento, Yolo, Nevada, El Dorado, and Placer counties.

– The State Loan Guarantee Program helps secure financing for small businesses who may otherwise not qualify for a traditional loan. State loan guarantees can guarantee up to 80% of the loan amount, not to exceed $5 million.


> Women’s Business Centre

Our mission at the Women’s Business Center of San Diego and Imperial counties is to empower women entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, strategic business advising, and trainings to help their businesses prosper as well as stimulate economic growth for their regions.


> WE Center

The Central Valley Women’s Entrepreneur Center (WE Center) is a Partnership Program with the SBA, administered by California State University, Fresno. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

WE Center offers innovative opportunities for businesswomen to better market their products or services, along with giving access to helpful resources such as technical assistance.


> Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

WBENC is a federal advisory committee created to provide non-partisan advice to a variety of government entities on the modern economic issues that affect women business owners today. It can put women in touch with a variety of professional groups and resources that can help them grow their businesses.

WBENC is perfect for any woman who wants more exposure to the wide range of opportunities in her area. From executive coaching to networking to capital-raising, WBENC can assist entrepreneurs everywhere.

> WomensNet – California

WomensNet promotes a variety of funding opportunities for small business owners, including the Amber Grant Foundation. This initiative is designed to give women the opportunities necessary to acquire capital and use it to improve their businesses.

> A New America Community Corporation

Operating for nearly two decades, A New America has been helping communities in Northern California by empowering local entrepreneurs. This group is here to guide individuals through incubation, training, and asset-building.

> Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund is a non-profit lender that invests in small businesses who may not be able to pull funding from other sources. The goal of this group is to not only help individuals with funding, but also the existing communities.

> Professional Business Women of California

The Professional Business Women of California (PBWC) was established in 1989 as a way to embrace and encourage women to move forward in the business world. This nonprofit is comprised of executives, leaders, and entrepreneurs from both private and public sectors. The group promotes gender equality, networking opportunities, and skill development.

> Women’s Economic Ventures

Established in 1991, Women’s Economic Ventures provides a micro-loan fund and self employment training program designed to even the playing field for all women.

> Women’s Entrepreneurship Programs

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Programs is a part of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which is designed to promote prosperity in San Francisco through mentorship, consulting and funding. This group can connect women to any number of initiatives that will help them grow a business.

> eWomen Network

eWomen Network helps business owners in Los Angeles find effective ways to connect with each other. This group is perfect for women in Los Angeles who want to find like-minded professionals. The group encourages women to think outside the box when it comes to finding (and developing) new projects and opportunities.

> Marin Women at Work

Marin Women at Work (MWAW) is a casual group promoting innovation and collaboration in business. Composed of a vivacious and dedicated network, this group wants women to share their skills and knowledge to build a brighter tomorrow.

This social group is excellent for women who want to make both professional and personal connections. Those who feel stagnant in their business may especially appreciate the varied perspectives and viewpoints.


> Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts conferences designed to motivate women entrepreneurs in the area. The speakers, events, and guest lists are created to honor women and inspire opportunities for them to get ahead.

Women in the Temecula area who want to meet local leaders and learn more about the current initiatives being taken in their area.

> Women’s Enterprise Centre

The Women’s Enterprise Centre assists women by assessing types of business loans based on their company’s needs. It also provides women with workshops that will educate them so their companies can thrive.

This funding opportunity is for women interested in different loan options to expand their business.


> IBank’s Small Business Finance Center

IBank’s Small Business Finance Center supports communities throughout California by providing loan guarantees, Jump Start loans, disaster-relief financing and more. Small businesses provide jobs in every region of the state and are a vital contributor to the economy. Check out some of the businesses that have used SBFC programs.


> The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was originally created through federal legislation – the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The initial SSBCI program (SSBCI 1.0) was funded with $1.5 billion – to strengthen state programs that support financing of small businesses. California received $168 million of the $1.5 billion, which was shared between two state agencies focused on small business support – the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s (IBank) Small Business Finance Center and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, housed within the State Treasurer’s Office.

For general information about SSBCI, visit the U.S. Treasury website.


> Accelerate California: Inclusive Innovation Hubs Program (ACAHUB)

The Accelerate California: Inclusive Innovation Hubs Program (ACAHUB) was formerly the Inclusive Innovation Hub (Accelerate CA Hub). It is a one-time $25 million program that provides funding to promote innovation ecosystems in the state of California. Selected Hubs are funded to provide acceleration and incubation services to entrepreneurs.

These services include – low and/or no-cost technical assistance, mentorship, access to resources, and more innovation-based programming.


> The California Grants Portal

The California Grants Portal is a project organized by the California State Library. This can be your one-point destination to find all grants and loans offered on a competitive or first-come basis by California state agencies.


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