If you run a woman-owned company and you’ve successfully navigated it through the downturn and into an anemic, but hopeful recovery, you’ve earned some bragging rights. That you kept the doors open means that you made tough calls under great pressure and you’re truly lean as a firm. Now, as you position yourself to capitalize on future opportunities, why not consider using a government program to finance the idea you’ve been putting off during slow times? In fact, why not add to your own professional growth as you take your business to its next goal?
Money for innovation
The Small Business Administration is well known as a source for information and loans for starting up small enterprises, but many owners may not be aware of many specific programs operated under the SBA. One program is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. A three phase grant – not a loan – intended to promote efforts by small, domestically owned businesses to research technologies that could lead to the commercialization of a product or service with potential application in one of several government agencies.
Though not specifically targeting women-owned businesses, the program does have a goal to “foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons,” which includes many women-owned businesses.
The first two phases of the grant, the
More than street cred
You’ve put your street and schooling knowledge to good use insofar as you nurtured your firm from start-up to a going concern, but as your company grows, you’ll need new skills to expand and exploit new opportunities. Starting an online MBA program while the economy is still sluggish is a professional move that maximizes your resources, especially your schedule. Though men still outnumber women in MBA programs, the rise of online classes helps lessen some of the intimidation many women have expressed as a reason for not pursuing an advanced business degree in a still male-dominated arena. Already having real world experience as a female entrepreneur is a factor that many male classmates won’t have and one valued by most instructors of any gender.
Seeing opportunity where others see only obstacles is what separates the entrepreneur from all others. As a woman with the vision to grow an idea into a business, these less than boom times can actually provide an advantageous moment to develop a new idea with the help of the right grant and endow your own career with increased knowledge.