15 Small Business Grants for Women Entrepreneurs

small business grants women entrepreneurs

Don’t Miss Out on Grants Specifically for Women Entrepreneurs

Today, more women than ever are starting small businesses, and they need cash to get a firm footing in their industry. They may have set up the basics such as business insurance, tax filings, website and even a brick-and-mortar location, but to survive the rough first quarter, they'll need money. Fortunately, there are foundations and other enterprises that give help to women-owned businesses.

The support for women entrepreneurs is not yet what it should be. Women are 5% less likely to get a conventional business loan from banks or government agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Even if a woman does get a loan, it is usually a smaller amount than men get. This hinders the woman’s ability to get credit. It doesn’t matter if women are less willing to take risks than men, or the fact that fewer women apply for business loans because the system is biased.

Read on to learn about the corporations and other lenders who understand the problems women entrepreneurs have and want to do something about it. You have a better chance of success with one of the following small business grants for women.

How Does a Woman Get a Grant to Start a Business?

The first step is to research the institutions that focus on giving grants to women entrepreneurs. That’s why we provide this list. Go through it and find one or more that suits your needs.

Secondly, create a credible business plan. Even people who give grants want to be sure you know what you’re doing. A business plan demonstrates that you have planned out your business for the next five years or so and have a path to follow. This shows you are serious about making your small business a success.

Remember that grants may take longer to get than a loan because grants depend on the decision of a board that only meets once or twice a year. You may have to wait several months before you receive the help you seek.

Here is the list of lenders that focus on giving help to women-owned businesses.

1. Grants for Women.org for Women-Owned Businesses

This is a good place to start your search for a grant. This website has a huge database of institutions that give grants to women-owned businesses. You can learn a lot here about the types of grants that are available, including corporate, private, federal and state grants. You will see a wide range of industries, not all of which are for business owners.

2. FedEx Small Business Grants

While this grant is for any small business owner, it has proven over the years that it is not biased towards men. FedEx conducts a contest in which the public votes for the start-up they like. The winner receives a $75,000 grant, use of FedEx services and free advertising through FedEx outlets.

3. The Eileen-Fisher Grant for Women-Owned Businesses

This grant provides up to $120,000 for women-owned businesses that meet the criteria. Your business must have woman-owned business certification, and it must promote environmental and social change. It must have existed for three years and cannot have earned more annual profits than one million dollars. Eileen Fisher is herself an entrepreneur with a focus on environmental sustainability.

4. Amber Grants for Women Entrepreneurs

This organization gives a $10,000 grant every month to a women-owned small business, and after one year, one of the winners is given a $25,000 grant. It’s easy to apply for this grant: just explain your business and the story behind it with no forms or waiting.

You will need to tell what motivates you and the story behind your business. You will also need to tell what you will do with the money. The grant is given on the 22nd of each month.

5. She’s Next by Visa for Black Women Entrepreneurs

Visa continues to fight against the disproportionate barriers that Black women have to face to start their own businesses. To qualify for the She’s Next program, you must be a Black woman business owner and have been in business for at least two years. You must be a B2C company with at least $24,000 in revenue. Location restrictions also apply.

6. Small Business Technology Transfer Program for Women Entrepreneurs

This is a research grant from the federal government. It aims to promote small businesses to collaborate in research through Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) to stimulate high-tech innovation, potentially for commercial purposes.

You will need to collaborate with a nonprofit research institution. The grants are given through a competitive awards-based program for small businesses.

7. V-WISE for Women Veterans or Spouses of Veterans Small Business Grant

Sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) provides entrepreneur training for women to learn the skills needed to start and grow businesses.

With centers across the US, you will learn how to be an entrepreneur, several ways to start your own business, and how to connect to the community for support. Five grants from $5,000 - $20,000 are awarded every year.

8. Ms. Foundation for Women Small Business Grant

The Ms. Foundation for Women (MFW) supports businesses that advance reproductive health, promote affordable child care and prevent domestic violence. Along with funds, it gives training, mentorships and other support for women entrepreneurs.

The only applications they process are the ones sent when they solicit applications. If you visit the website regularly, you will see when applications are requested.

9. Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) for Women-Owned Businesses

The SBIR grant aims to support cutting-edge ideas that could be profitable. Several institutions give grants, and you can access them on their website.

When you apply, you should identify which of the participating agencies your technology fits. If you aren’t sure, just look at the organization's website and find one or more that suits your business.

10. Cartier for Women Entrepreneurs

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is given to 21 female entrepreneurs every year. Winners receive expert coaching, media coverage, workshops and other prizes from $30K to $100K. You apply online and do not send business plans.

You can apply for the Regional Awards or the Science & Technology Pioneer Award. You will get a generic confirmation email that your application has been submitted and saved.

11. Jane Walker First Woman Grant (JWFWG) for Women Entrepreneurs

This grant program is for women who have an innovative business that is unique in the market. It should break down conventional business boundaries.

Jane Walker is the female equivalent of Johnnie Walker, the whisky company, and celebrates women in a number of roles like CEOs of a major bank and Vice Presidents. It selects businesses in a wide range of industries. You get $10,000 and one year of business coaching.

12. IFundWomen Small Business Grant

The IFundWomen Universal Grant program brings together hundreds of organizations that fund women-owned businesses. You can look at their site and pick a grant or apply directly to IFundWomen, which also gives grants.

To get on their database, you need to fill out a form. It should take you about 20 minutes. You will have to give a written pitch, so write that out in advance so you can just copy and paste it when you are ready to fill out the form.

13. Belle Capital for Women-Owned Businesses

Belle Capital is an investment firm that promotes businesses owned by women. It aims to fill the gap created when more men receive funding than women.

It has been proven that women are as successful in starting small businesses as men, but they are still on the short end when it comes to funding. Belle looks for business software, digital health devices, tech-enabled products and cleantech. Some of the criteria they look for include:

  1. Strong management
  2. Female founder
  3. Urgency of the need
  4. Growth possibilities
  5. Exit plan

14. 37 Angels Organization for Women Business Owners Small Business Grant

The 37 Angels are all women who invest in women. They aim to redress the unfair practices that give men the advantage of getting business funding. The grants may be up to $150,000. You will speak to an angel to determine if you qualify and if you do, you will be able to pitch your company to several investors.

Takeaways for Women Entrepreneurs

  • If you have woman-owned business certification, you may be eligible for several of the above grants. They include government agencies, private organizations and nonprofits that give money to women-owned businesses that need not be repaid.

  • The organizations that are open to men and women have proven they are fair and not biased towards men. It’s not always easy to get a grant, but it’s worth a try if you qualify to get the cash you need to take your business to the next level.

Contact us today to get more information about small business insurance and to answer any other questions you may have.


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