For some, it comes together quickly, and for others (like sparkling water brand Spindrift) it can take a number of years for the business or the product to find success.
Regardless of how quickly-or not-your business takes off, there are two things every entrepreneur needs: money and support from other established business owners. It's already a challenge to find funds for your business idea, but as a female entrepreneur, it can feel like a constant uphill battle with no end in sight.
Many successful female business owners have been there, and are launching business funds to help other women get their ideas off the ground, too.
Whether your idea is big, small, totally ironed out, or still in the works, these four funds are run by notable female entrepreneurs working hard to give back to the next generation.
The most recent to join the ranks of female business funds, Bumble Fund launched in August in order to help diverse female entrepreneurs looking to get their businesses started. The fund will invest $5,000 to $250,000 in companies led by women, and focuses on women's interests (think: Mahmee, Thinx and others along those lines).
If you're interested in securing some funds from Bumble, download the app, create a Bizz Profile (part of the app's business networking platform), and check out opportunities to pitch this fall.
A veteran female fund, the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation was launched in 2006 and has already committed millions of dollars to various charities including Girls on the Run, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and more. The foundation hopes to support women and "help them SOAR through education, entrepreneurship and the arts." (As a communications professional and a business owner, I couldn't be more supportive of this foundation's mission.)
But Spanx's founder Sara Blakey isn't just giving back to female entrepreneurs, she's committed herself to Bill and Melinda Gates' and Warren Buffet's giving pledge, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity.
"While many of the world's natural resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed--women," Blakely says on the foundation's website. I couldn't agree more, and the Spanx Foundation is making it happen.
Tory Burch Foundation
As both a mom and a business owner, I love the motivation behind this foundation. Women can, and should, have both a family and a business, and the Tory Burch Foundation is helping to make that happen for entrepreneurs around the world.
"As our company has grown, I've learned about the obstacles that women in business face, from balancing work and family (my greatest challenge) to securing financing," says Burch. "Many also lack the confidence, business networks and training they need to see their ideas through." To tackle this head-on, she launched her foundation in 2009, and focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs - a phrase that became both their guiding light, and their tagline.
The Tory Burch Foundation isn't your traditional venture capitalist fund, but instead offers business owners with affordable loans, through partnering with Bank of America to provide a community lenders program. While loans are a standard new business funding option, it can be difficult to find an affordable rate, and a loan that will provide you with educational resources and a network, too.
The foundation also partners with Goldman Sach's 10,000 small business program to mentor business owners, and offers opportunities to network with others also trying to start their own venture, or already established (and knowledgeable!) entrepreneurs.
The Girlboss Foundation
It might be only four years old, but the Girlboss Foundation has already given out over $130,000 in grants to female entrepreneurs, giving them the funds to transform their ideas into "the companies that will shape the future" - the foundation's goal.
Founded by Sophia Amoruso, the fund awards $15,000 grants twice a year, and also provides awardees with a connection to Amoruso's exclusive Girlboss community.
"We exist to redefine success for millennial women by providing the tools and connections they need to own their futures." - The Girlboss Foundation