Resources for Female Entrepreneurs and Business Owners in Austin
Three of my incredibly accomplished friends have started new businesses this month. I am so excited about the atmosphere that is brewing around Austin. People are taking big leaps of faith to pursue their passion and it is an amazing thing to see. As a fellow female entrepreneur, I have found the following organizations a wealth of knowledge, support, and opportunity. Feel free to include other resources in the comments if there are groups you would like to share.
Women@Austin is the newest resource on the list. Their goal is to create a mission-driven community dedicated to accelerating high-growth female entrepreneurship through 1) mentoring, 2) access to role models and 3) the process and networks crucial for funding. The group meets once a quarter at the Capital Factory but they are also adding curated peer groups and mentoring events as they grow. I attended a marketing roundtable recently that was fantastic. Their steering committee also boasts an incredible diversity and depth of experience. I am really excited to see what this group will offer as it grows. @WomenatAustin
AVINDĒ is a community-driven startup accelerator catering to women who want to launch and lead scalable businesses while addressing women’s leadership concerns. AVINDĒ holds community education events and provides a cooperative environment between new and successful entrepreneurs and their networks. The group also has two Startup Acceleration sessions per year with up to 30 current and future entrepreneurs to launch companies with guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors. AVINDĒ also has occasional lunches through their meet-up page, although they do not have any currently scheduled. AVINDĒ’s meetings draw a more formal business crowd than the Austin Women’s Network. @Avindeaccel
Austin Women's Network holds a monthly networking event, usually at the Triangle. The group is organized and run by a mom of five who is also a published author. With over 1,000 members, this Meet-up based group is the most diverse community on this list. Its members bring together a refreshing mix of careers from accountants to yoga instructors to executives and artists. Each meeting includes networking and a presentation by a local speaker.
Additional Resources for New and Growing Businesses
PeopleFund provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. PeopleFund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and operates as a non-profit 501(c)(3) serving all of Texas. The programs at PeopleFund are two fold: (1) Small Business and Nonprofit Lending and (2) Business Assistance and Education. They offer quality workshops on a wide range of subjects for small businesses and also have a mentorship program. PeopleFund also has great pro bono opportunities for any lawyers who happen to be reading this post. @PeopleFund
For non-profit businesses, Greenlights is the go to resource for the non-profit community in Austin. Greenlight’s mission is to strengthen local non-profits for extraordinary performance and impact. Greenlights also provides fantastic support and strategy tools including management consulting, professional development workshops and conferences, research and a membership program.
Greenlights is also a fantastic resource if you are on a board of a non-profit or interested in joining a non-profit board. @GreenlightsATX
Capital Factory is a start-up accelerator, incubator and coworking space. Although they have a reputation for tech-focused start-ups, there are a wide variety of businesses taking advantage of the Capital Factory at any given time. Capital Factory hosts a myriad of events, but for women specifically, they host a monthly Women Who Code event for all skill levels. @CapitalFactory
4. Tech Ranch
Tech Ranch is focused on tech start-ups. Their core purpose is to accelerate the success of technology entrepreneurs and cultivate a collaborative, connected community. They offer programs and classes to increase their knowledge and encourage continuous transfer of information and insight amongst the group. Their best known program is the Campfire which is a networking event held every 2nd and 4th Friday at 3:30. It is free for entrepreneurs and $25 for service providers. @TechRanch
The Small & Minority Business Resources Department was created by the Austin City Council to administer the Minority-Owned Business Enterprise, Women-Owned Business Enterprise and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs within the City of Austin. They offer certification and compliance assistance and other resources such as marketing classes.
The U.S. Small Business Administration page provides resources for women starting a business, applying for a business loan, finding government contracting opportunities and improving an existing business. The page also includes links to other national women’s business organizations.