Women entrepreneurs and the upside of a down economy

Melissa Crossman
Melissa Crossman lives in Indianapolis with her two dogs. She enjoys cooking and volunteering in her community.
Melissa Crossman
Melissa Crossman
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By J. Howard Miller, artist employed by Westinghouse, poster used by the War Production Co-ordinating Committee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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

second awarded contingent upon the results of the initial phase, focus on researching the feasibility of developing a technology, while the final phase, not funded by the SBIR, involve either continued research or the actual implementation of a technology stemming from the initial research. This final phase is in the form of a contract by a government agency such as the Department of Defense, one of the remaining nine agencies whose collective budgets provide the funding for the SBIR program. As this is only one promising avenue to grow your business during a relatively slow point in time, investing in professional growth makes good sense on a number of levels.

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.

Moving forward

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. 


  1. I would say thank you very much it was such an highly motivation thing for girls and woman.i am just 23 years old and you really motivated me seriously for my career.thanks you mam.
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  2. Twitter:
    I have seen lot of difference in children where mother is an Entrepreneur and to the one of a housewife. I have to say there is a lot of positive impact on kids when they can learn about business from mother.
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  3. Twitter:
    it Sounds great saying Girls As entrepreneurs.. This can help many and i am working with some in the blogosphere…
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