Kabbage is committed to providing business loans for women entrepreneurs. You can check out all of our "Womanpreneur" content on the Kabbage blog.
Despite extraordinary progress in recent years, women still take a backseat to their male counterparts in areas of business growth, including ownership of publicly traded companies, hiring and revenue.
As women look for ways to grow their businesses, it can be challenging to obtain working capital loans from traditional lenders. The process for applying for small business loans with traditional lenders can be slow and usually requires extensive documentation about your business and personal financial history.
When you're an entrepreneur starting your own business, you'll likely need financing from outside sources from time to time. You need cash for essentials like inventory, payroll, equipment and marketing. Rather than dipping into your profits, using a business loan can help you cover your costs while keeping your cash flow intact.
Business loans can be extremely beneficial to smooth fluctuating cash flow during a growth period or to prepare for a busy season. If you're looking to borrow money for your business, carefully consider how you will use the funds. If you know that taking the loan will put you in a position to pay back the funds quickly, a Kabbage could be a great small business loan for women to explore.
Before signing on the dotted line, it's important to have a detailed business plan to ensure your extra working capital will drive revenue that ultimately helps you pay the money back. Create a plan of action for how to use your line of credit and how you will repay it.
Each of the funding options below has pluses and minuses, so it's important to research them thoroughly to decide which is the best fit for your business.
Business line of credit: A line of credit is an arrangement with a financial institution that establishes a maximum loan the lender will allow the borrower to take. You can withdraw any increment from the line of credit at any time, as long as you don't exceed the maximum set in the agreement. A business line of credit like a Kabbage account is similar to a credit card: you use it as you need it. You make payments on a regular, predetermined schedule and you can borrow or use more as your principal is paid down.
Revolving line of credit: Revolving credit is a flexible method of borrowing money. Instead of borrowing a fixed amount of money all at once, revolving credit allows your business to borrow working capital in increments that you need, up to a pre-approved limit. Revolving credit is an important way for small business owners to keep operations going smoothly with the ups and downs of sales, seasonal changes and occasional cash flow shortages. Getting revolving credit can enable your business to pursue opportunities quickly, even when you don't have funds available to invest. As long as you make your minimum payments and limit your debt to what you can reasonably pay back or afford, revolving credit can be an effective cash flow management tool for your business.
Peer to peer loan: Peer to peer lending is an online forum where a platform matches borrowers with investors. Borrowers complete an application and receive an offer for credit, typically from the banking partner of the platform. Companies can then invest in the loans that have been offered to borrowers. Some typical characteristics of peer to peer loans include:
Short-term business loan: Short-term loans are designed to meet immediate financing needs, like bridging gaps in cash flow, dealing with unexpected needs for extra funding and taking advantage of new business opportunities. Rather than pulling funds from other parts of your business, you can cover your costs with a short-term loan while keeping your daily accounts payable intact.
Business credit card: A small business credit card is one way that business owners can pay for the various business-related expenses they incur. Small businesses can help conserve cash flow by using a small business credit card instead of cash for the items they need.
Working capital loan: Working capital is the cash available for the day-to-day expenses of running a business. This helps measure a company's efficiency and short-term financial performance. Net working capital is a calculation of current assets minus current liabilities. A working capital loan allows you to continue your daily operations without tapping into your cash flow.
Microloan: Microloans are small loan amounts, generally offered to those without stellar credit or the collateral typically required for a traditional loan. The Small Business Administration created a Microloan Program to foster growth for small business owners. Microloans are provided to small businesses through nonprofit organizations across the U.S. Microloans are available for up to $50,000, with the average amount granted being around $13,000.
A small business loan for women can be used to cover expenses related to establishing and maintaining your small business. Popular ways women use business loans include:
At Kabbage, we are happy to offer women entrepreneurs access to the working capital they need to sustain and grow their businesses.
With Kabbage, you apply online or through our mobile app by connecting information generated through accounting data, online sales, shipping and dozens of other sources. We use simple, meaningful data from your business to assess your business and do not require elaborate documentation that takes you extensive time to gather. We provide an automated decision right away and give qualified small businesses ongoing access to lines of credit of up to $250,000. Customers can withdraw any increment they need up to once per day and can access their accounts online or through our mobile app.
Kabbage is TRUSTe certified and A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau. Since Kabbage began offering access to financing in 2011, we have provided more than $3 billion to nearly 100,000 small businesses.
In addition to needing extra funding from time to time, your business could benefit from information and guidance. These resources and programs are geared toward women entrepreneurs at every level of business growth.
Women's Business Centers
To help "level the playing field," the Small Business Association has more than 100 Women's Business Centers located across the U.S. that offer counseling, training and small business resources.
SBA's Women-Owned Businesses Portal
When you have questions about starting or growing a business or are looking for a mentor, the SBA's Women-Owned Businesses Portal is a fantastic resource. There, you'll find useful articles, online training and other resources to develop your business.
National Women Business Owners Corporation
If you're interested in becoming certified as a woman-owned business, consider doing so through the National Women Business Owners Corporation. You'll get access to government contracting opportunities and get your business in front of more potential customers.
U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce
Joining the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce provides an outlet to help make a difference in the landscape and politics of women-driven businesses. You'll meet other advocates for female entrepreneurship, have a say in policies and legislation and build your network.
Womensphere Venture Incubator
There are dozens of startup incubators out there, but few cater specifically to women. Womensphere Venture Incubator focuses on women in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) startups. With in-person events and online educational classes, the incubator helps women build a solid foundation and launch their startups.
If you're seeking funding, look for women-centric grants and loan programs before you start knocking on investors' doors. These are open to women only, immediately reducing the pool of applicants competing for funds.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
Clothing line Eileen Fisher supports female entrepreneurs with its Women-Owned Business Grant program. Each year, the program awards a total of $100,000 to up to 10 recipients who are beyond the startup phase with their business and are looking to expand their companies to create positive social and environmental impact.
To qualify, your business must have been operating at least three years with annual revenues under $1 million. Your business must be founded on creating environmental and social change.
WomensNet Amber Grant
Each month, WomensNet awards a female entrepreneur a grant of $500. At the end of the year, one of the 12 winners will be awarded an additional $1,000 grant through the Amber Grant. There are no stringent guidelines, other than that applicants be female and need the money to put toward developing their business idea. There is a $7 application fee, and applications are accepted each month here.
Angel investors are a tough nut to crack for any business owner, and women are definitely in the minority when it comes to being recipients of these funds. Only 23 percent of the entrepreneurs who seek angel funding are women, and of those, only 19 percent receive funding. 37 Angels, however, aims to turn the tables on these statistics. Made up of more than 50 female angel investors, the investment company has a streamlined process for applicants and provides a response within four weeks. Those who receive funding can expect between $50 and $250,000. Start the application process here.
It's worth a little investigation to find out if your state offers any financial assistance for women-owned businesses. New York State, for example, offers a Minority and Women-Owned Business Investment Fund, a $2 million equity investment fund that supports innovation, job creation and high-growth entrepreneurship in the state.
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Qualify for a line up to $250,000
"Using our small business loan from Kabbage, we ramped up the manufacturing of our inventory, which enabled us to more than double our revenues through fast production."
Accessing small business funding shouldn't be complicated or time-consuming, so Kabbage developed a simple way to get up to $250,000.2.