Access to Capital: The Gender Funding Gap

As a successful female entrepreneur, you may have to fight harder than your male counterparts to start and grow your business. You know the playing field isn’t always level. In fact, while women are starting more businesses than the national average (74% vs. 51%), they are starting their businesses with half as much capital as men.2 Last year only 11% of Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans were awarded to women-owned businesses.1 This is a trend that needs to be corrected if the national economy is to grow and thrive.

If you are looking for funding at this moment or are considering it, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Apply for financing!
    • This may seem obvious, but there is a significant percentage of women who simply do not apply because they fear being turned down.2
  2. Know your options and what they can offer you
    • Banks, venture capitalists, angel investors, grants, and non-profit mission lenders or community development financial institutions (like us!) are all viable funding options and where one might not be the right fit, another may be able to give you that boost you need.
  3. Do your homework
    • Once you’ve narrowed down where to apply, research what to expect from them throughout their process. Our Small Business Toolkit can help you throughout the process of applying for a loan!
  4. Find a mentor
    • Find someone who has done this before and succeeded. They can help you navigate the financing process and if there are parts of your application that you think might be grounds for denial they can identify ways to strengthen those areas. Check out your local Score and SBDC chapters to find an advisor!

The lack of access to capital is a problem that cannot be solved by solely the women entrepreneurs of the country. We all need to work together to create system of support that does not turn women away before they begin.


  1. Coleman, Susan. Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses. San Rafael: Marin Consulting, 2014.  Accessed June 7, 2016.
  2. Moran, Gwen. How Women Entrepreneurs Can Get More Funding. Fast Company. April 19, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016. 

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