Cultivating and nurturing women in franchising has been of importance within the franchising community for several years. In 1996, the Women Franchise Committee (WFC) was formed under the umbrella of the International Franchise Association (IFA). The WFC “is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging women in franchising by creating a network of business professionals dedicated to strengthening the success of women in franchising.” The WFC accomplishes their objective by offering a combination of programs and resources such as:
- “How-to” Guides
- Local Networking Chapters
- Mentoring Programs
“[The IFA] works with some of our members to develop programs within their system,” Senior Director of Education and Diversity with the IFA, Miriam Brewer, says. “We do three major expos across the country. We always have a special session that focuses on women and minorities. We also realize that everyone can’t go to those three different cities, so we take it to the local level and do these educational programs in cities across the country.”
In addition, the IFA works with different stakeholders such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), minority business development agencies, small women’s organizations, and small business development centers. It also works with entities such as the National Black and Hispanic MBAs, and other stakeholders working with individuals that aspire to open a business.
A number of additional associations and organizations with the mission of helping prospective woman business owners are discussed below. These organizations can help potential women franchisees achieve their goal of operating their own business through mentoring and training programs, on-line advice, legal and financial assistance, as well as the benefits of being part of a community or network of female entrepreneurs.
Association of Women's Business Centers
The Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC) is a non-profit organization that represents women business owners throughout the U.S.
The organization supports entrepreneurial development among women as a way to achieve economic self-sufficiency and create wealth while participating in economic development by focusing on three main strategies: advocacy, capacity building, and research.
The AWBC represents a membership community that provides education, training, technical assistance, and access to capital to hundreds of thousands women and tens of thousands of businesses each year.
Founded in 1999, EWF International offers support, mentoring, coaching and leadership training through Peer Advisory Groups, coaching and consulting, educational events and speaking engagements to women-owned businesses. EWF International works exclusively with female business owners and executives on managing the different and unique challenges they face in the business world.
National Association of Female Executives
The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), founded in 1972, is one of the largest women's professional associations in the United States. The NAFE provides resources and services through education, networking, and public advocacy to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security. The association launched an international branch in 2005, I-NAFE.
In addition to its blogs and articles, membership in NAFE includes the following resources:
- NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women list
- NAFE Women of Excellence Awards programs
- Women of Excellence Interview Series
- NAFE Leadership Summits
Nafe.com is part of the Working Mother Network, a division of Bonnier Corporation.
National Association of Women Business Owners
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) was originally set up by 12 women business owners in the Washington, DC area. They began meeting in 1974 as an informal group to share information on finance, contracts, and other business issues. On July 7, 1975, they incorporated into a formal organization, known as the National Association of Women Business Owners.
The aim of the NAWBO is to propel women entrepreneurs by:
- Strengthening the wealth creating capacity of its members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community
- Creating innovative and effective change in business culture
- Building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations
- Transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers
The organization’s web page provides a wealth of resources for women franchisees and entrepreneurs:
- Business Resources
- Articles Library
- NAWBO SmartBrief
- NAWBO Focus (online publication)
- Member Directory
- WBO Statistics
The NAWBO holds an annual Women's Business Conference to give entrepreneurs the chance to learn, share, and network. Other events and programs the group offers include chapter leadership training and an accelerated growth series.
Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The SBA has numerous resources for individuals preparing for business ownership. Specifically, the SBA created the Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) to establish and oversee a network of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) throughout the United States and its territories.
Each WBC is tailored to the needs of its community and offers programs and assistance in the following areas:
- Training and Counseling
- Financial Resources
- Federal Market Opportunities
- Local SBA Resources