Being alone on an uninhabited island turns life into a race for survival. Similarly, you don't want to be a business owner alone at arm's length – or oceans apart – from other like-minded entrepreneurs.
As small businesses increase throughout the world, entrepreneur organizations are available to help you on your journey. However, deciding which of these organizations can help your business can become a time consuming and grueling task. To help you, we have compiled our list of the top 23 entrepreneur organizations around the world.
Top 23 Entrepreneur Organizations
SCORE is America’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors. The organization has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs since 1964 start or grow small businesses.
SCORE is made up of more than 10,000 expert volunteers. They are committed to helping their communities thrive. Small business owners receive valuable guidance and insights, all at no cost.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent federal agency that helps small businesses in the United States. The administration provides aid, usually in the form of loans, and counseling to assist and protect the interests of small business concerns.
The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses all across the country and in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. But the agency hasn’t always accomplished its mission. I have repeatedly criticized it for responding slowly to the needs of small business owners, especially in the wake of disasters.
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 14,000 like-minded business leaders across 61 countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond. EO is basically the Justice League of the entrepreneurial world.
This group has it all – not only do they offer forums and personal advice on a national scale, but the organization also sponsors local chapters with their own meetings and amenities. There are even great healthcare options for members. On top of that, there are personal mentorship opportunities and huge networking events. It’s the ultimate toolbox for entrepreneurs.
Vistage is the largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders in the world. The organization and its affiliates have more than 23,000 members in 20 countries, representing the world’s leading chief executive organization.
Vistage offers a unique combination of resources for accelerating CEO and key executive business performance, including monthly problem-solving peer group meetings; one-on-one executive coaching sessions; expert resource speaker workshops; an online best practices library; regional and international conferences; and access to a global online network of business leaders.
The results speak for the organization’s methods. It says that on average, Vistage-member leaders grow their companies 2.2X faster than their industry competitors. That’s in both up and down markets.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.) provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, community and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. This organization promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment.
Founded by Scott Gerber, the Y.E.C. is an invite-only community of the world’s top young entrepreneurs. Together, they have created YEC.co to equip aspiring, young business owners with all of the knowledge and support that they need to launch successful businesses.
The National Federation of Independent Business touts itself as "The Voice of Small Business." The association provides discounts, networking opportunities, online discussion groups, and state and federal lobbying. It also runs young entrepreneur, legal, and research foundations.
Like many organizations of its type, the NFIB is an association that works to pool the voices of the small and independent into a larger organization that might be a force to be reckoned with. The NFIB’s stated mission is to “promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.”
StartupNation provides entrepreneurial advice via radio program and through an online community for entrepreneurs. It offers advice on various topics, including business financing, business models, business planning, home-based business, business technology, inventing, life planning, marketing, running a business, sales, and web-based business. The multimedia company was launched in 2002 and is based in Birmingham, Michigan.
Your local chamber of commerce can be an excellent resource for growing your business, particularly in your immediate community. Local chambers work to link small businesses by facilitating interaction and support within regional areas. Community chambers also help small-business owners connect with the more than 7,000 chambers of commerce worldwide.
Meet like-minded small-business professionals through this global social-networking group. Meetup connects entrepreneurs online so they can ultimately connect in person. Simply plug in your ZIP code to find a group in your area. With get-togethers happening in more than thousands of cities in 221 jurisdictions, chances are you'll find a relevant event happening near you.
The International Council for Small Business, founded in 1955, it is the largest non-profit organization devoted to continuing management education for entrepreneurs and small business globally.
The Council was founded on the belief that enlightened small business management is necessary for successful, profitable small businesses, that successful small businesses are essential to our national economies, and that entrepreneurship needs to be fostered to stimulate a dynamic and growing economic system.
FoundersCard, started by Eric Kuhn in 2009, is the first membership community designed specifically for entrepreneurs and innovators. This organization has over 30,000 entrepreneurs who are members and they enjoy generous networking events and many discounts.
For example, FoundersCard offers members discounts on travel expenses, business products and services, and even VIP benefits to improve lifestyle. The lifestyle benefits include discounts on vehicles, fashion, and fitness brand products. The global invite-only events are a great way to network with like-minded entrepreneurs.
In 1997, six seasoned entrepreneurs met in Seattle to plan the first ever gathering of social entrepreneurs. The first event took place from November 12-15, 1998 in Colorado Springs, and SEA has been providing entrepreneurs with resources and networking opportunities ever since.
Members receive subscriptions to a monthly newsletter, GrantStation Insider, and extensive webinar series. Other benefits include access to forums, the SEA Knowledge Center, consultation services, and networking opportunities at chapter events.
13. Startup Grind
Startup Grind is an international startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. The community hosts monthly events in over 600 cities and 125 countries, features a successful local founder, innovator, educator, or investor who shares their story and the lessons they learned on the road to building a great company. These events provide networking opportunities with amazing startups and local entrepreneurs and give entrepreneurs inspiration for the startup journey ahead.
Founded in 2010, Startup Grind says it is the world’s largest community for startups, founders, innovators, and creators. They have a Startup Global Event once a year.
Founded in 1985 by Ed and Darlene Lowe, the Edward Lowe Foundation aims to “champion the entrepreneurial spirit.” This foundation achieves this fantastic goal by connecting second-stage entrepreneurs with their peers through leadership programs like Economic Gardening and the PeerSpectives Roundtable System.
The foundation embraces the concept of "economic gardening," a unique and proven economic development strategy based on the fundamental concept that entrepreneurs drive economies.
Ashoka is one of the largest networks of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with more than 3,500 Ashoka Fellows in 92 countries putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.
Founded by Bill Drayton in 1981, Ashoka has provided startup financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners across the world who increasingly look to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems.
TEC may not require a membership organization, but attending any of the ten or so events or seminars a year gives you the chance to network, exchange ideas with peers, or sit-in on discussions surrounding the latest markets trends. Events also include influential speakers ranging from Steve Blank to Guy Kawasaki.
NASE was founded in 1981 by small business owners who realized they could enjoy the same economies of scale for purchasing goods and services simply by banding together.
The NASE offers entrepreneurs and small business owners a wide range of resources and tools to help them run their business successfully. NASE also keeps members informed about legislative activities, as well as provides access to resources, experts, and scholarships.
18. Dynamite Circle
The Dynamite Circle, or the DC, is a private community for entrepreneurs with established, successful and legitimate businesses that are not location dependent. It was founded by Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen of Tropical MBA.
The DC began as a small mastermind in 2011, and still holds this as one of its primary tenants and value propositions. In addition to masterminds, members can also benefit from juntos, local community networking events, yearly DCBKK events, and more.
The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs is a place for women entrepreneurs to get tough questions answered. FWE is dedicated to providing visionary women with the education, empowerment, and energy they need to become wildly successful entrepreneurs. The Programs and Events at FWE are designed to support and mentor women who are venturing into new business opportunities or ready to ramp up and grow their existing business. From start-up advice to specific tips and tricks, FWE leaders, advisors, and business professionals are ready to share their expertise.
Founded by Christina Anthony in 2002, FWE has been encouraging, educating, and mentoring women entrepreneurs for over a decade. The charity is now supporting more than 650 women entrepreneurs every year.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has grown since 1975 to represent more than 10 million women-owned businesses in the US. It says that it is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all sectors. With chapters across the US, it provides support and resources to propel women business owners to greater economic, social, and political reach. It also aims to create innovative and effective change in business culture, build strategic alliances and coalitions, transform public policy, and influence opinion makers.
21. Startup Canada
Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. Through online platforms, grassroots Startup Communities, and cross-sector initiatives, Startup Canada is advancing entrepreneurial momentum and a culture of entrepreneurship, as the voice of Canadian entrepreneurs.
Founded in May 2012, Startup Canada has quickly become the most recognized, energized, and active entrepreneurship organization in Canada. Startup Canada has grown to represent more than 250,000 entrepreneurs, and 50 grassroots startup communities from coast to coast. It has directly supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs. Internationally, the organization has received recognition as the best practice in fueling grassroots entrepreneurship. It has educated leaders in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Korea, South America and the United States.
Connecting women entrepreneurs around the world, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) provides both opportunities to network, as well as insight and inspiration through communities and events. It also connects entrepreneurs with investors and business advisors, both in-person and online. The group believes that technology enables business, but understand that it should be paired with the connections, solutions, and changes spearheaded by leaders.
The Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO) is a well-respected national membership organization that strives to propel students into entrepreneurship, social and professional spheres of power worldwide. Their mission and vision are to provide student entrepreneurs’ with opportunities, events, chapter activities, and conferences.
Launched in 1997, the CEO informs, supports, and inspires students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation. CEO currently supports entrepreneurship in over 250 chapters across all 50 states and globally.
When it comes to finding the help you need, these entrepreneur organizations offer a lot. Whether you’re looking for a networking group or someone to help you with funding any of these organizations can help.
Smart Hustle is also committed to inspiring and educating small businesses.
For more business guidance, news and interviews with top entrepreneurs, subscribe to our newsletter.