Help for single mothers wishing to start a business | Small business
Through Updated May 17, 2019
Entrepreneurship is often attractive to single mothers who seek the flexibility of self-employment while raising their children. However, starting a business is difficult, especially when there is not another parent or other family member who can step in to help the children. It is essential that you seek resources for education, training, funding, and support to get your business off to a good start.
Business training and education
Successful entrepreneurs have the education and training necessary to operate their businesses effectively. Trade schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions can provide you with the knowledge and training you may need.
Some community colleges offer diploma, certificate and degree programs in entrepreneurship or small business management. If you’ve never run a business before, these programs are useful. Plus, community college tuition fees are usually significantly lower than what you might pay at a four-year university. If the cost remains a concern, speak to the financial aid office. You may be eligible for state grants, scholarships, or student loans.
Some companies require a professional license, which means you may need to take a training program. For example, if you have a cosmetologist license and hope to open your own salon, state laws may also require you to have a salon owner or manager license. This may require additional training. When planning your business, check all training and licensing requirements.
When looking for schools, find out about child care options. Some colleges and universities, including community colleges, operate on-site child care centers for students.
Business creation advice
Starting a business is a big decision: a good idea is not enough to make a business successful. Working with professionals and advisors who help you develop a business plan, find funding, and set achievable goals can improve your chances of success.
Association of Small Businesses and Business Centers for Women
The Small Business Administration office in your area is a great place to start your search for advice and support. Your local SBA office may be associated with a Women’s Business Center, which can provide specialist assistance. These organizations can also direct you to local nonprofit groups that specialize in helping single mothers achieve their career and career goals, including entrepreneurship or self-employment.
SCORE is a nationwide volunteer program that connects entrepreneurs with mentors who are experienced and successful in business. By receiving one-on-one assistance, you can explore and refine your business plans with someone who has already accomplished what you are trying to do.
Small business financing
Securing financing for your business can be a challenge. Contrary to what many people believe, there are few direct grants available to small business owners. Instead, government and private grants are often awarded to government and private agencies. These agencies then take responsibility for providing grants and services to local businesses.
A Small Business Association advisor can tell you if there are any grant programs in your area that are worth seeking out. In addition, some leading companies, such as FedEx, operate private subsidy programs. Competition for grants is often fierce, and you can benefit from working with a professional grant writer.
Small business loans are often much more accessible. The SBA partners with lenders to provide these loans to small business owners. You should still be eligible for a loan, so it is essential to check your credit reports before you begin the application process.
Ongoing networking and support
One way to promote your business, form strategic partnerships and potentially attract investors is to get involved in your local business community. Contact your local chamber of commerce. Typically, chambers promote regular networking and information events that cost little or nothing. You can also find local women in business groups that provide opportunities for fellowship and referral.