Numerous resources are available for businesses – even some targeted for women owners. Don’t travel the ownership path alone, utilize the insight available to you.
Be sure to take time to visit with a local expert to understand what opportunities are available to you whether you are in the planning stages of your venture, ready to expand, or looking to transition your business.
Dedicated to Women:
I’m often asked by female entrepreneurs, “What opportunities exist for women business owners?” Generally speaking, most incentives available for businesses are offered regardless of ownership gender. However, specific programs do exist that focus on serving women.
REAP (Rural Enterprise Assistance Project) of the Center for Rural Affairs has a Women’s Business Center dedicated to training and providing technical assistance to female owners (find out more about their one of their reps in the Get to Know section on page 37).
A program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in partnership with REAP’s Women’s Business Center is the InnovateHER competition developed to discover and empower entrepreneurs to present products and services that address the following parameters: creates a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, has the potential for commercialization, and fills a need in the marketplace.
In business already?
Consider doing business with the government. Some government contracts have preferential selection for women-owned businesses. If you are uncertain if your product or service fills a need for the government, you might be surprised at the types of goods and services requested.
A procurement counselor within Nebraska Business Development Center can help steer you in the right direction.
To get insight on business ownership and network with other women entrepreneurs, consider attending the Own It Omaha conference held every other year in Omaha (next event slated for May 2017).
Get tips and read about stories of women entrepreneurs from several national groups: Chic CEO, SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Ladies Who Launch and Women’s Net.
ASK FOR HELP
Curious about other programs and opportunities for all owners? Wherever you are in Nebraska, someone nearby can help. Experts within the world of economic and business development understand programs targeted for business owners and will work with you to seek out solutions to your help with problems.
Start by talking to your local economic development office or chamber of commerce. These entities will know what is available for your specific geographic area.
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has many incentives for existing and startup businesses (specific parameters for each opportunity) and field staff to help you understand the programs! Their incentives are worth looking into, especially if you are in business and looking to expand.
Free consulting (yes, I said FREE) is available through Nebraska Business Development Center, REAP, and SCORE for all points in the business life cycle. These regional agencies offer technical assistance related to start-up assistance, business plan development, cash flow analysis, marketing and countless other topics.