15 best resources for women entrepreneurs

Are you a woman with a (business) plan? If you’re seeking business support and financing, here are 15 excellent investment programs, accelerators, grants, and networking/mentorship organizations for women entrepreneurs.

Amber Grants for Women
What they do: Each month, WomensNet judges award $500 to a promising woman entrepreneur, as well as an annual grant of $2,500.
Last year’s winner: Krista Woods, founder of GloveStix (and ShoeStix), an “odor management system” for smelly athletic gloves and shoes
Facebook: @AmberGrantsForWomen
Twitter: @ambergrants

What they do: Funding for exceptional entrepreneurs. Astia is a community of experts committed to leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs by providing access to capital and networks.
Recent Astia-backed success stories include: Mrs Wordsmith, which uses flash cards to help kids learn 10,000 words, all illustrated with hilarious cartoons by an Emmy-winning Hollywood illustrator.
Facebook: @astiaglobal
Twitter: @astiaglobal

What they do: Loans. Whether you're looking to expand production, purchase new equipment or access financing for a special project, BDC can help you move forward with the right business loan.
Facebook: @BDC.ca
Twitter: @bdc_ca

Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
What they do: Each year, Cartier awards grants of $100,000 USD each to six women, a 6-day executive training program, networking opportunities, and 1-to-1 business coaching. Women entrepreneurs in the initial stages of development, in any country and operating in any industry, are welcome to apply. Second prize for the 12 finalists: $30,000 USD.
Recent winners include: Katie Anderson of Save Water Co which retrofits water systems in high density housing and commercial buildings to reduce water wastage and costs.
Facebook: @CartierAwards
Twitter: @CartierAwards

EILEEN FISHER Women-Owned Business Grant
What they do: This women’s clothing company provides $100,000 in grants to innovative, women-owned companies that are beyond the startup phase, ready to expand their business and make a positive social and environmental impact. Applications open in May.
Two recent grant winners: Laura Weiss, founder of GO BOX, which supplies reusable food containers to Oregon restaurants and food cart vendors, and Betty Ikalany at AEST in Uganda, which makes energy-saving cookstoves and organic, smoke-free briquettes to save trees from being burned for fuel.
Twitter: @eileenfisherny

What they do: Networking. Ellevate is a community of professional women like you who care about investing in themselves and in other women.
Facebook: @EllevateNetwork
Twitter: @EllevateNtwk #investinwomen

EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women
What they do: This competition and executive leadership program selects high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale—and then helps them do it.
Recent winners include: Nina Tandon of Epibone which is developing revolutionary bone graft technology that allows patients to grow bones from their own stem cells; Fran Dunaway of TomboyX which makes underwear, loungewear, and swimwear for active, plus-sized women and unconventional women.
Facebook: Ernst & Young
Twitter: @ey_growth

Female Founders Fund
What they do: Financing. An early-stage fund that invests in the exponential power of exceptional female talent.
Recently backed entrepreneurs include: Lisa Skeete Tatum, founder and CEO of Landit, a tech platform that helps women flourish in their careers by increasing their success and engagement levels at work.
Facebook: @femalefoundersfund
Twitter: @fcubedvc


Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)
What they do: Based in Vancouver, FWE provides visionary Canadian women with the education, empowerment, and energy they need to become wildly successful entrepreneurs. At their annual Pitch for the Purse competition, women pitch their ideas publicly for a prize purse of $25,000 in startup funds.
Recent winners include: Tara Bosch, the 23-year-old founder of SmartSweets, which sells low-sugar gummy bears in 170 locations across Canada and online throughout North America.
Facebook: @FWEBC
Twitter: @FWEBC

Futurpreneur Canada
What they do: Resources, financing, and mentoring to help young Canadian startups get off the ground. If you’re 18–39 and ready to launch a business, they’re here to help.
Facebook: @Futurpreneur
Twitter: @Futurpreneur

What they do: MergeLane broadens the on-ramp for women-run companies. They discover, accelerate, and invest in high-potential startups with at least one woman in leadership.
Recently backed startups include: Tousled, founded by Priya Dandawate and Melissa Albert. Tousled offers mobile, on-demand salon & spa professionals who travel to you for on-site hair, makeup, and massages.
Facebook: @mergelaneaccelerator
Twitter: @mergelane

Plum Alley
What they do: Investment and community. This private investment platform gets capital to women entrepreneurs and provides a powerful experience to those who invest.
Recently backed startups include: Markable, which uses the power of computer vision and deep learning AI to put your photos or videos to work.
Facebook: @plumalley
Twitter: @plumalleyco


What they do: SheEO finances, supports, and celebrates female entrepreneurs. SheEO is radically transforming how we finance women-led ventures that are creating a better world.
Recently backed entrepreneurs include: Erin Millar, CEO of Discourse Media, an innovative digital news media company that provides high-quality investigative journalism on issues that matter to Canadians.
Facebook: @SheEOWorld
Twitter: @sheeo_world #RadicalGenerosity

WESK (Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan)
What they do: WESK offers business advising, financing, and learning & connecting opportunities for business owners at all stages of business growth. For over 20 years, WESK has worked with hundreds of Saskatchewan women and men to help them start, build, and grow their businesses.
Facebook: @WESK306
Instagram: @wesk306

Women’s Startup Lab
What they do: They create the world where women thrive and succeed through collaboration and innovation. The Lab’s year-long Silicon Valley accelerator begins with a 2-week immersion program. Here, you’ll meet influencers and investors to help you with startup strategy, funding strategy, and negotiating skills to create your perfect pitch for funding momentum. Applications open in the spring.
Recent success stories include: Chrissa McFarlane, Founder and CEO of Patientory, which just raised over $7 million through an ICO. Patientory provides an easy way to securely store and manage healthcare information in real time.
Past Canadian founders: Melissa Kargiannakis of Heuristext and Sophie Howe of Xesto.
Next deadline: The Lab’s next launch is March 2018 with a January 2018 application deadline.
Facebook: @WomenStartupLab
Twitter: @wslab


For even more help and networking assistance, check out these programs and resources for women entrepreneurs. Just remember us when your company is a runaway success and is valued in the billions.

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