With about 200,000 women-owned businesses, Los Angeles ranks second of all U.S. cities in sheer volume of female entrepreneurs. Yet the city ranks in the bottom 25% of U.S. cities when it comes to friendliness toward women entrepreneurship. What’s going on?
A survey of the resources available to female entrepreneurs in LA suggests that public and private support for women business owners is not robust enough to serve the dense entrepreneurial population. Yet there are dozens of resources to explore, ranging from membership organizations to small business loans for women. Exciting new initiatives like SCORE’s “Triple L Program” and the innovative co-working space One Roof Women are popping up, and Los Angeles is home to several unique women-focused conferences. In the years to come, the following list of resources for women entrepreneurs in LA is sure to grow.
City Government & Non-Profit Resources
- SCORE LA: “Triple L Program”
SCORE is a nation-wide non-profit that offers consulting, workshops, and mentoring for free. In May 2016, SCORE LA launched the Triple L Program (lunching, learning, and leaning) to serve women in LA for $15/month per enrollee. SCORE Los Angeles also offers walk-in mentoring hours Monday through Saturday from 10 am – 1 pm.
- PACE’s SBA Women’s Business Center
The Small Business Administration’s WBC at PACE Business Development Center focuses on underrepresented and disadvantaged women business owners but is open to all entrepreneurs in LA County. The Center offers educational programs and one-on-one business counseling.
WBEC-West certifies Women Business Enterprises to make procurement easier for women. As a regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, WBEC-West serves Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Hawaii, and Guam, in addition to Southern California.
- Los Angeles Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification Program
Getting certified as an WBE by the Bureau of Contract Administration opens up opportunities to bid on city contracts. You can download a PDF application here.
- YWCA Greater Los Angeles
The YWCA GLA’s was founded in 1894 with the mission to eliminate racism and empower women. The organization reaches 100,000 women annually through programs addressing issues from job training for at-risk youth to financial literacy for women.
Networks & Membership Organizations
- Women to Women LA
W2W LA is a network of “dynamic, women professionals” in the LA area founded in 2009 by two legal professionals. Events include member spotlights.
- National Association of Women Business Owners: Los Angeles
NAWBO Los Angeles is part of a network founded in 1975 that represents 10 million businesses in the country. The organization aims to women entrepreneurs “into economic, social, and political spheres of power worldwide.” NAWBO LA membership costs between $20-$40 per month.
- National Latina Business Women Association – Los Angeles
The NLBWA-LA encourages Latinas to develop business and professional goals through networking and educational programs. The organization hosts annual awards, partners with organizations from Latina Global to Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and publishes a newsletter. Annual membership ranges from $75 to $500.
- Los Angeles Women’s Entrepreneurs Meetup
The Los Angeles Women’s Entrepreneurs Meetup hosts mixers, conferences, and workshops once a month on average. It’s made up of about 300 mostly tech entrepreneurs.
- Young Women Social Entrepreneurs
The Los Angeles Chapter of the YWSE is a volunteer-driven organization comprised of women from different backgrounds, all focused on social impact.
- Women Owned Business Facebook Page
The LA Chapter of the Women Owned Business group on Facebook is linked to a Zap Zone Network private group. The Facebook page, with about 500 likes, shares content and connects women business owners.
- The Vinetta Project – LA
The LA chapter of The Vinetta Project hosts programming for female founders with a focus on showcase events, fireside chats and workshops, and Founders & Funders dinners. The organization also supports high-growth tech companies founded by women via the Vinetta Collective, the first talent agency dedicated to the rise of tech’s top female founders.
- Fashion Mamas
Fashion Mamas is a members-only network for LA mothers that work in the fashion industry (designers, editors, stylists, models, publicists, and bloggers).
- Women’s Center for Creative Work
Founded in 2013, the Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) aspires to cultivate LA’s feminist creative communities and practices. The WCCW houses a co-workspace available to all WCCW members who pay $40 or more a month to use daily, as well as programming featuring sessions such as “How to Pitch to LA Weekly and Other Publications” and “Boosting Your Side Hustle”.
jig + saw brings a creative community of female entrepreneurs together through coworking, resources, and events. The network hosts weekly talks, workshops and shows, including their innovative Track Series and most recently, How’d She Do It?, which highlights women and their infinite ability to build an empire
Conferences & Events
- The Yellow Conference
The Yellow Conference bridges the for-profit and non-profit worlds by calling “creative, entrepreneurial-minded women who desire to ignite passion and bring goodness to the world”. Slated for August 24 and 25 in 2017, the conference costs $347 (and $317 for members).
- Yes She Can
Yes She Can curates a list of community events, workshops, and other happenings around Los Angeles, aimed at supporting creative women business owners. Upcoming events include everything from a pitch session with Ann Friedman and Jade Chang to a pop up shop hosted at woman-owned business Base Coat Nail Salon.
- Werk It: A Woman’s Podcast Festival
Taking place from October 3 through October 5, Werk It is a podcast festival produced for women, by women. Tickets range from $200-$500, and activities include workshops, demonstrations, mentoring sessions, a Podcast Bootcamp, and NSFW conversations about working in audio and digital media.
- “L.A. Makes” Series
KLCS Los Angeles recently started a new series that features female small business owners in the area. The pilot episode is available to watch on Vimeo.
- Above the Glass
Above the Glass is an online resource center that provides the information, tools, and support to empower female entrepreneurs. In addition to articles offering tips and tricks, Above the Glass offers a variety of worksheets and checklists to help with the nitty-gritty of starting a business.
- Create & Cultivate
Create & Cultivate offers an offline conference and an online platform for female entrepreneurs in the digital space.
- Women Entrepreneurs Community of Los Angeles
The WECLA is a new event series specifically for women entrepreneurs. Its initiatives include a small Facebook page and a “mastermind-style” event hosted by General Assembly.
- Avant Garde Women
The LA-based niche media and book publishing company Authority Book Consulting launched AvantGardeWomen.com in 2016 to help women grow their businesses by positioning themselves as experts. The company helps women develop a content and PR strategy.
- bossladies magazine
bossladies magazine is a print magazine made for creative, business-minded women. Issue 01: Los Angles was just released, and features the stories of 25 entrepreneurial women in LA.
Girlboss “is a platform for women leading deliberate lives”. Since 2014, the #Girlboss Foundation has given over $75,000 in grants to female creatives pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Each grant recipient receives $15,000, and the application is online.
Samantha Novick is a senior editor at Funding Circle, specializing in small business financing. She has a bachelor’s degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Prior to Funding Circle, Samantha was a community manager at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Her work has been featured in a number of top small business resource sites and publications.