According to the Small Business Administration, women-owned businesses comprised 4 percent of all businesses in the U.S. in 1972. Women-owned businesses grew to 28 percent of all businesses in the U.S. by the year 2002 (the last year for which census data is available). Clearly women entrepreneurs provide great value to the economy as well as employing hundreds of thousands of workers. Since the beginning of time, men have networked with one another and formed lucrative alliances and partnerships through various channels available to them. With the rapid growth of women-owned businesses, female entrepreneurs need places to meet, network and align themselves with one another to foment lasting success. See five of the best places below.
Beyond Facebook and LinkedIn
Biznik provides a venue for business owners and entrepreneurs to collaborate with the purpose of helping one another succeed. The philosophy of the site encourages collaboration rather than competition. Biznik is organized by local communities so business owners can network with those in their area if they wish.
The Everywoman Network
The Everywoman Web site, a site dedicated to women in business, has been around over 10 years. In 2009 they launched the Everywoman Network — a social networking forum where women can meet to discuss new ideas and solutions for various issues such as accounting, management, inventory control and the challenges of running a home-based business among many others. Members join networks already in place or set up their own complete with local event calendars and more.
Cofoundr — The Entrepreneur’s Network
The Cofoundr Web site calls itself the “fastest growing online network for entrepreneurs.” The site hosts a private community of business owners, investors, advisers and developers from various industries. Those interested in starting a business, needing advice, or looking for a partner can find what they need at Cofoundr.
E.Factor — Tools for Entrepreneurs
The E.Factor site claims to be the largest community of entrepreneurs worldwide. With over 800,000 members, the site offers much more than just social networking. Members learn about worldwide events for business owners where they can meet other entrepreneurs face to face. Many of the listed events cost less than $10 per person. Need travel to get to the venue? The E.Factor site provides members with discounts on flights, hotels, and private business clubs.
Forum-based site, Young Entrepreneur, includes areas where members can ask experts such as Suze Orman or Richard Branson and many more for advice and solutions to problems. The latest news for business owners pops up on the home page or can be obtained through a news feed. Members also get access to the online version of “Self Made Magazine,” a publication that addresses every area of business ownership and includes interviews with business owners of all types.