March 05, 2024

Five Notable Women's Business Associations

Connections, recognition, encouragement, resources, inspiration: All great things that a female entrepreneur could always use more of, right? When you join a women's business association, you can find all of this — and more. And what better time than Women's History Month and International Women's Day (March 8) to start mixing and mingling with other women on a mission to ensure your place in small business history?

The following organizations are the largest and best-established groups supporting entrepreneurial women.

1. "Women Mean Business," says NAWBO

The National Association for Women Business Owners is more than 11 million members strong nationwide. Its mission: "Get a seat at the table or build your own table, and make sure to include other women."

NAWBO's tiered membership plans start at the very specific amount of $359.40 per year, plus a one-time initiation fee of $100 — with discounts available. Basic Membership provides access to the national membership directory, webinars, legislative updates, and numerous discounts on business services. Join a local chapter or be a virtual member.

2. ABWA can help you become "the Heroine of Your Life"

In 1949, four women met at a coffee shop in Kansas City, Kansas to form one of the oldest women's professional organizations. It was a time, as the organization's website notes, when "it was considered socially unacceptable for women to pursue a full-time career, have a girls' night out or even join an association."

Ever since that first meeting, the American Business Women's Association (ABWA) has been offering women the opportunity to join its national learning community. Local chapters and "express networks" generate more than 5,000 meetings a year, in addition to its conferences. Its $115 annual membership fee includes access to personal and professional development opportunities.

3. U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce: Advocating for women's economic priorities.

Founded in 2001, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce helps women develop leadership skills, seek and win more government contracts, and influence government economic policies, with an emphasis on retirement security for women.

A complimentary individual membership includes news and legislative updates and the opportunity to register for events. But to get the most from this group, business owners will do well to buy a $199 annual business membership. Most notably, It includes discounts on certifications as a women-owned business, as well as deals on meetings and events. The business membership also makes you eligible to take part in Chamber leadership and in representing the group at Congressional meetings and hearings.

4. eWomen Network: A million-dollar proposition

The global eWomen Network's key goal is to "help one million fulfilled women each achieve one million in annual revenue." The group encourages its members to lift others as they climb. Membership connects you with more than a half-million female entrepreneurs in 118 chapters throughout the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.

Members get access to peer coaching, mentorship and motivation. Benefits include a directory listing, discounts, and even the opportunity to do speaking engagements in your area(s) of expertise. Membership levels range from the Essential membership ($19.95 per month plus a $357 initiation fee) to a Lifetime Membership ($8,500).

5. Ellevate Network: Driven by environmental and social consciousness

The Ellevate Network bills itself as a global professional women's network. As a registered B Corp, Ellevate is committed to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

At the core of Ellevate's program are its squads. These dedicated support groups, committed to helping members advance, are available at the Pro Tier ($40 per month). The group also offers employer programs geared to helping female staffers succeed. A robust events calendar and opportunities to get advice from experts round out the benefits.

What's stopping you?

When you join a group and lend your voice to its efforts, you're helping other women — and women in the future — start and grow their businesses. That's a pretty remarkable return on the investment.

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