Starting a Business

  • The Sonoma Small Business Development Center is here to help all business owners start and grow their businesses. Call us at (707) 595-0060 in Sonoma County.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has limited dedicated women’s resources in the North Bay:
    • Regional Offices of Women’s Business Ownership, but the nearest is Los Angeles.
    • Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), provide training, mentoring, and financing opportunities. The closest locations are in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and Fort Bragg. Learn more.
  • DreamBuilder is the SBA’s free online training and business plan development tool for women. See DreamBuilder

Federal Contract Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses

To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program. Your business may qualify as a Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB).

  • SBA certifies businesses as WOSB and also holds numerous events targeting both the federal and private procurement. View the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program.
  • U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce also certifies businesses as WOSB and EDWOSB for federal contract purposes. In addition, they have two other programs focusing on corporate and regional goverenment: NWBE: National Women’s Business Enterprise™ and IWBE: International Women’s Business Enterprise™. They also offer numerous webinars and events about becoming a certified, as well as opportunities for various federal contracts.

Women’s Local and Regional Networking Groups

  • Women Talk Biz – with the mission to ‘inspire, education, and connect women business owners through amazing events’
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce remains key for bringing business people together and some have special women in business events.
  • Connections networking group for women in Santa Rosa – “Women creating More than Business as Usual” – View website
  • Meetups for women’s business networking in Solano and Napa
  • Marin Women at Work is a collaboration of women business owners – View website

Women’s National Advocy Groups


Need further education to advance your entrepreneurial idea? Here are some options:

  • American Association of University Women – Various scholarships for women. Branches in Healdsburg, Marin, Napa County, Novato, Petaluma, and Santa Rosa — View AAUW Webpage
  • Connections Networking sponsors scholarships for women – View website

Professional Organizations for Women in Industry