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If you're a woman, there has never been a better time to start your own business. Not only do opportunities abound for women–owned businesses, but there are numerous resources and groups ready and able to help you succeed.
The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that there will be about 10.7 million self–employed women by 2005. This is an increase of 77 percent since 1983, compared to a 6 percent increase in the number of self–employed men.
As a result of all of this trend, a number of women–oriented financial organizations have cropped up, many of them online, making it easier for busy women entrepreneurs to get the help they need.
The Online Women's Business Center is part of the SBA and is also well worth a visit. The site "promotes the growth of women–owned businesses through programs that address business training and technical assistance, and provides access to credit and capital, federal contracts, and international trade opportunities." The site offers information on a wide range of topics, from starting and running a business to success stories and even a profile of an SBA women's business center that recently was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Look also at the Edward Lowe Solutions Network, a site dedicated to helping small businesses succeed and grow. The American Women's Business Association provides resources and support for, and a network of, women business owners.
Finally, you might want to consider reading the Women's Business Resource Guide: A National Directory of over 800 Programs, Resources, and Organizations to Help Women Start or Expand a Business, edited by Barbara Littman.