Though there are many conversations all over the world on enhancing economic empowerment for women, there is one particular location that is raising more awareness then most — the San Francisco Bay Area. For decades women have not been able reached their full potential in matching their counterparts in regards to small business startups.
The women in the San Francisco Bay Area have been trying to change that outlook and have been successful in doing so. According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation StartUp Activity Index, which “measures the percent of the adult population of an area that became entrepreneurs in a given month,” San Francisco went from ranking No. 9 in 2015 to now ranking No. 4 in 2016. A second report from the foundation that “measures small business activity for the forty largest metropolitan areas of the United States,” showed that San Francisco has one of the highest rates of female business owners within metro areas. Not only do these reports show that San Francisco is a profound place to start a new small business, but it also shows that there’s opportunity for women entrepreneurs as well.
By developing a community with strong, like-minded, women entrepreneurs, the San Francisco Bay area has been fostering new innovations and ideas for women to become small business owners. Here is a list of groups that are coming up with strategies to push women into more successful leadership roles.
Young Women Social Entrepreneurs
This chapter is based in the San Francisco Area and according to their website, YWSE.org, they are a “values-based learning community to support the next generation of women change makers.” When visiting this site, one can find ways to subscribe to it, make donations to the chapter, find out when and where their network gatherings take place and also read blogs created by many empowering women. YWSE are also always looking for women who want to advance in their own careers as well as make an impact in the community to join their board.
Women Entrepreneurs of the Bay Area
WEBA is another community similar to YWSE that helps women come together to help advance themselves to get to their ultimate goal as an entrepreneur. According to their site on meetup.com, they are “more than a social network. It’s all about sharing experiences and creating opportunities.” The group has monthly meetings and calls them “power sessions.” They focus on many things such as personal and spiritual growth, but mainly professional importance. The group was founded in San Mateo, Calif. on Dec. 18, 2009, and has a fearless entrepreneurship network of 710 members.
San Francisco International Women Entrepreneurs Forum
Established in 2013, SFIWEF’s mission is to “deliver a platform for diverse international organizations to collaborate and share resources and give visibility to various projects and initiatives, startups and business directed to or run by women.” According to their website, sfwomentrepreneurs.com, they have been able to inspire women and “change the conversation on how [women] are perceived in business and as entrepreneurs.” The site also gives examples of the many changes that they have made both locally in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally. This forum also shares inspiring pictures of women, and has stories of their success as entrepreneurs.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Unlike the other groups mentioned that solemnly focuses on women advancements in the business world, the REC focuses more on bringing both men and women entrepreneurs together. Renaissance launched in 1985 and grew steadily. According to their website, rencenter.org, their mission is to “empower and increase entrepreneurial capacities of socially and economically diverse women and men, and thereby strengthen our communities through the creation of sustainable new business, new jobs and the promotion of financial self-sufficiency.” The organization provides assistance with loans, graduate connections, resources, and tips on how to start and grow your business as well as success stories.
This article was written by Ashley Thompson for Small Business Pulse