There are very few woman-owned tech companies globally. Studies indicate that about 50% of women abandon tech careers by age 35. The world has a huge gap for female tech leaders. Governments, the private sector, and non-governmental bodies have numerous initiatives and incentives for women entrepreneurs to change the narrative. Women have faced numerous hurdles and frustrations in a bid to break the glass ceiling.
It is not an easy task, but it is quite possible. Women can seize opportunities and succeed. Their success will create space for many others. The big question has always been, what does it take to succeed in this male-dominated arena? Here are highlights on how to start a woman-owned company in the tech industry.
1. Start by Honing Your Leadership and Tech-Specific Skills
Skill and expertise in your work will give you immense authority and an advantage over your competitors. Gender will take a back seat when your active and potential clients know you have the right technical expertise. It creates trust between you and them that is good for your business. It also inspires confidence among your employees if you are working with a team.
It takes more than just technical expertise to thrive. Possessing exceptional organizational leadership and people interaction skills is a definite game changer. Enrolling in formal education programs on leadership and management is a good place to start if you don’t have prior experience in a management role. A blend of soft and technical skills will forge a strong corporate path for you and the company. Enrolling in graduate programs enhances your reputation start a woman-owned company in the tech industry.
Studies show that 29% of women in science and technology or engineering are regularly treated as incompetent. Being an authority in your field will help if you are establishing a high-tech custom fabrication service for military helicopter parts when your company hits the market. Using your own business as the testing ground for your skills and abilities is a catastrophic idea you must never entertain.
2. Build a Strong Community Network Around You
Venturing into any business is isolating. It is even more complex for women entrepreneurs in tech. Strong networks drive business. Start networking with other female entrepreneurs in your field and others as you start a woman-owned company. Attend conventions and conferences to network and learn.
They will also provide you with a diverse knowledge base and vital support system as you go along. You will learn the ropes of the steel fabrication company you are setting up as a multinational metal supplier in the construction tech industry. Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to foster powerful connections with female leaders in other sectors, like hardware supplies. It will diversify your market base as you learn the common challenges businesswomen face to gain clear perspectives.
3. Secure Funding for Your Tech Company
Women in tech are shaping the future and technology at large but launching a business requires funding. Most companies fail to take off due to a lack of funding. Consider how you will finance your business when you start a woman-owned company. Sourcing for funding is the most daunting task for any starting business. It is even tougher for woman-owned companies.
Their business funding approval is rated lower than men globally. Fundera established that they received only 7% equity funding globally, but it should not discourage you if you believe in what you have. You can do it with persistence and the right approach. You can fund your company in several ways, such as self-financing, small business loans, women in tech venture capital funding, crowdfunding, and grants.
Securing funds for the business is as important as enrolling in welding courses to hone the right skills for a smooth operation. Below is an in-depth look at ways of finding funding when you start a woman-owned company that will ease the burden and increases your chances of success.
1. Try Venture Capital for Woman-Owned Tech Manufacturing Companies
Venture capital is an option you should consider as you start a woman-owned company. Approach women-founded funds and funds which exclusively invest in women-owned tech businesses or find investors interested in closing the gender gap for funding. They can invest in your company from $100,000 to multimillions. You can look them up in magazines and online.
Understanding their missions, the industries and technologies they fund, and their terms will give you a head start. The right partner will invest more than money in your business. They provide you with their expertise and open up their networks to expand your reach and grow your opportunities. You need them to introduce you to green energy networks, state and local waste management agencies, private clients, and many more, beyond just funding if your business manufacturers control panels for pumping waste water for recycling.
2. Approach Women-Oriented Small Business Lenders for Funding
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a wide range of small business loans for women-owned tech businesses across the United States. They offer advisory services, competitive interest rates, and flexible repayment plans for loans. It can be a good place to get funding for a local sandblasting service company you are establishing if you cannot self-finance.
You can also get microloans from local banks and credit institutions that partner with non-profits, such as the Tory Burch Foundation, which connects local community lenders with women entrepreneurs. They can fund your company to set up, upscale, or pursue long-term goals. Small business lending is a good option when looking for funding to start a woman-owned company.
3. Get Funding From Non-Profits and Foundations That Empower Women Entrepreneurs
The private sector offers some of the most lucrative grant and loan opportunities for women-owned tech businesses. Some give small businesses up to $4,000 monthly for growth, marketing, advertising, and hiring of employees. It is a good organization to consider if you want funding to start a woman-owned company.
The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program funds businesses that have operated for three years with a positive socio-environmental impact using technology. It awards $10,000 to ten women-owned businesses yearly. It is a good funding source to consider once your business is established and can prove its impact on the environmental front.
Other grant applications, such as the Amber Grant, accept applications throughout the year and award up to $25,000 for businesses whose owners tell a compelling story and pay a small application fee. Non-profits and foundations provide funding that does not require paying back or accruing interest, which is good for a company.
4. Secure Your Funding through Diverse Grants
There are several available grants for women in business that you can apply for to start a woman-owned company. You can fund the company through federal grants for women in business or regional, state, and local ones. Search for available grants in line with your business on grants.gov and apply if you meet all the requirements.
Small tech businesses that contribute to federal research and development can find numerous grants on the SBIR website for businesses that have less than 500 employees and meet all other requirements. Several other regional, state, and local grants are available on the Economic Development Administration resource page.
Small Business Development Centers spread across the country will provide you with valuable information and free business consultancy. They help you develop business plans, perform market research, and land grants you are eligible for. Grants require detailed submissions, and you must research well to send applications that meet the funder’s criteria.
5. Raise Capital Through Crowd Funding
Crowdfunding gained traction as a practical source of business financing in recent years. It is a hot cake for tech start-ups and women tech founders can take advantage of this method of raising money if other methods fail. It demands the creation of an engaging campaign but opens your business to a diverse range of investors.
Crowdfunding can help your company to raise capital through advance sales before the product is rolled out on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. SeedInvest raises awareness among investors and venture capitalists about the owner and their business goals. You can also do more with crowdfunding beyond just raising money to start a woman-owned company.
6. Raise the Capital Yourself or From Family and Friends
You can raise money from friends and family or your savings. It is less stressful but may be more disappointing. Other methods are better than funding through personal savings or soliciting from friends and families. It is, however, quite convenient if you are establishing a small business.
4. Invest in Building a Strong Brand for the Target Market
A successful brand is integral for any business. Companies invest heavily in creating and promoting their brand. Branding is at the core of successful sales and marketing. Creating a unique brand identity, maintaining its integrity, and increasing its awareness creates trust and ownership that adds value when you start a woman-owned company.
It is crucial to perform intensive market research to build a formidable brand that cuts across your potential and active customer base before you spend money on digital advertising services. Your business will rise and fall on the strength or weakness of the brand. Work with branding experts to get the right impact.
5. Invest in Extensive Marketing and Advertising
Advertising and marketing take your business to the customers to generate sales leads. Any business must be known by its target customers for it to self-sustain and make a profit. You cannot ignore the power of marketing and advertising when you start a woman-owned company.
Set up a good website and establish a strong social media presence where your consumers can engage your products and services. Work with an expert marketing company to craft the right marketing content and strategy on and off-SEO. Engage other traditional marketing and advertising channels and harness the power of your social networks to market your new company.
6. Register the Business and Have the Required Licensing and Insurance
Registering your tech business as an LLC saves you and your family members from liability. It also allows you to legally pay taxes, set up separate company bank accounts, and have a credible image before investors and clientele. Tech companies may require special licensing and patents or copyright in different states and countries to safeguard them from infringement and intellectual property violations.
It is also vital to get appropriate insurance for your start-up. Insurance cushions you from risks beyond your control to keep the business afloat. Workplace injury lawsuits can cripple your startup if you don’t have insurance coverage. You cannot afford to ignore comprehensive business insurance when starting a company.
7. Set up your Physical Office
A physical office builds trust. It also portrays a strong company image that enhances the brand to create loyalty. A good location is accessible to workers and customers and will have proper parking. It should be close to your target market for clients to visit and discuss business projects once they reach out online or via the telephone. A good office at an excellent location makes the whole difference.
8. Take the Initiative and Start Your Tech Company
Building your own business comes with immense perks despite the challenges. Taking time to build your tech business is worth it. Think outside the box to find creative ways of funding your business and network within the industry for opportunities and a support system. Create a powerful brand and invest in proper marketing to break even. Your success will also open ways for more women to get into the tech business and create more impact. Becoming your boss comes with immense freedom to live life on your terms