Single Mothers Can Start A Business Too
All you have is an idea. If you’re a single mother who wants to start her own business, that idea is your first step. A single mother with a business concept can join other women business owners, develop a business plan, access training and apply for financing through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national network of Women’s Business Centers. Private charitable organizations and community lenders called CDFIs or Community Development Financial Institutions offer additional help.
It may seem like an insurmountable task to start your own business as a single mother, but you won’t be alone. In 2010, “Forbes” reported that women-owned businesses will create a third of the new jobs in the U.S. by 2018. “Forbes” said that the growth in women-owned businesses is based on positive qualities of women business owners, including the inclination to build a good work environment that includes strong relationships with employees and a keen focus on cultivating good customers and taking advantage of economic trends.
Women’s Business Centers
The U.S. Small Business Administration website offers a one-stop resource for anyone seeking to start a small business. The SBA also operates a network of Women’s Business Centers in nearly every state, plus American Samoa and Puerto Rico, where you can find in-person training, counseling and other resources to start and grow your business. In Los Angeles, for example, sign up for entrepreneur classes, find a mentor to help with your specific business needs and receive assistance with loan packaging at the PACE Women’s Business Center.
The Community Development Financial Institution Program is an initiative of the U.S. Treasury Department but it works closely with the Small Business Administration and other government departments. CDFIs are charged with developing small businesses, other types of economic opportunity and improved housing in underserved communities that lack access to traditional financing. If you are low-income, a single mother and live in a community not frequently served by large banks and lenders, you are qualified to work with a CDFI to obtain financing for your small business.
Nell Merlino originated “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” in the 1980s and is the founder and CEO of Count Me In, which sponsors a national initiative to help women business owners grow their small business to a $1 million enterprise. Access training, coaching, marketing, technology assistance and a suite of business-building products at makemineamillion.org. More traditional organizations such as Women’s Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara, California, also offer hands-on help in developing business plans and accessing financing to start your business.
Female Entrepreneur Strengths
Mark Wolf, writing in “Forbes,” praised the “deeply engaged, inclusive, horizontal and diligent female-led approach to business management.” According to Wolf, the qualities of female entrepreneurs are the reason why women-owned businesses are growing rapidly and outpacing those owned by men. While women have not traditionally had a lot of access to capital and financing, the growing financial success of women-owned businesses is expected to attract financing in years to come and be a major source of growth in the U.S. economy.