Business grants for women can be a helpful source of funding a startup or a women-owned business that are created by forward-looking government agencies, foundations and companies.
Starting a business has its benefits, but there are still some challenges for women entrepreneurs and one of them is getting funding for your startup.
According to the statistics in 2016, there was a 45% increase among women-owned businesses in the US since 2007. But to continue to be competitive and develop, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their business ventures.
Thankfully, there are government and other types of grants that are a great option for women who seek extra funding for their startups and undertakings.
Though the competition for small-business grants is quite fierce and time-consuming if you are ready for the challenge, the payoff can be worthwhile. Down below you can find the list of the best business grants for women starting a business.
Business grants for women #1 | InnovateHER Challenge
The InnovateHER Challenge is one of the few government grants for small business owners that aim to help empower women. People of any gender can apply as long as their startup programs positively impact women and families.
This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership and the Sara Blakely Foundation.
The first ever InnovateHER Challenge was launched in 2015 and since then has continued its successful activities. Interestingly enough, the top three finalists split $70,000 in grant money for suggesting ideas that have a positive impact on the lives of women.
If you are planning to apply for this business grant for women, first your startup will enter into a local contest. Different universities, SBA resource centers, and partners host local competitions.
If you become the winner of both the local competition and the semi-final competition, your startup will be presented in an annual national competition for businesses with a marketable product or service hosted by the SBA.
By the way, the top three finalists respectively win $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000.
Business grants for women #2 | The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
I want to encourage women entrepreneurs, especially those who firmly believe that business can be used to create social and environmental change.Eileen Fisher
The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program must be your first business grant for women that you should check out. Eileen Fisher, a well-known fashion designer, and women’s clothing retailer launched these business grants for women in 2004.
The company awards $100,000 annually to up to 10 women-owned businesses (maximum $10,000 per recipient). This program is looking for a startup that has a positive social and environmental impact.
To be eligible for applying for this program you must be in business for at least 3 years, and make up about 51% of your business’s ownership and leadership and it must not exceed $1 million in annual revenue.
If you are already interested in this program, the application for it opens every spring. Just don’t forget to provide your business plan and some financial data.
Business grants for women #3 | Amber Grant
The Amber Grant was initiated by Womensnet.com in 1998. It is named in honor of a young woman, Amber, who died before she could realize her entrepreneurial dreams. Initially, it was launched to help women entrepreneurs reach their goals.
The organization makes a $500 grant to one recipient each month. In addition, one of the twelve winners gets a $1,000 grant at the end of the year. The application is comparatively simple: all you have to do is to explain what your startup is, tell your story of what you are going to do with the grant money and pay an application fee ($7).
The foundation is looking for women with passion and a great story. Additionally, the foundation can partner you up with a supporter, investor or personal mentor.
Business grants for women #4 | FedEx Small Business Grant
It may be surprising, but since 2013, FedEx Small Business grant has awarded $250,000 to entrepreneurs. By this token, the first prize winner of the FedEx’s funding was CEO of Darn “Good Yarn!” Nicole Snow. FedEx awards up to $25,000 per a winner of 10 small businesses each year.
If you want to apply for this grant it will be required from you to write an explanation of your business, share some photos and a short video of your business (this part is optional) and explain your visions of how you’d use the money.
By the way, you don’t need a FedEx account to apply. Noteworthy is that one part of the judging process involves the general public voting for the top finalists, thus participants can promote their businesses while collecting votes.
Business grants for women #5 | Open Meadows Foundation
The Open Meadows Foundation provides grants to such projects that promote racial, gender and economic justice. Only women can apply to this program and the startup must benefit women and girls.
The organization provides $2,000 to such projects that have limited access to financial resources to develop. In particular, Open Meadows Foundation regards organizations that have no more than $75,000 in budget resources.
By the way, applications for this program are accepted in spring and fall of each year. This organization is specifically focused to direct its resources towards changing the world for the better. They are looking for projects concentrated on political change, activism and empowerment headed by women and girls.
All you need for applying for funding is to create a good proposal using the online form of the foundation and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business grants for women #6 | The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant is specific grant as it is a small business grant for women who are involved in jewelry industry (making and selling jewelry).
This grant is awarded to female jewelry designers in the US and is specifically adapted towards businesses under three years old. The award includes $7,500 cash grant, from which $1,000 is allocated to spend on jewelry supplies.
By the way, the 10 runners-up are also awarded prizes. Applicants for this grant must submit a jewelry collection. Among this, they must also answer to 15 questions that form the basis of a business plan.
Business grants for women #7 | Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) facilitates Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer competitive programs. These two programs provide grants to small businesses that promote federal research and development.
The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) supports small businesses engaged in research that have commercial potential.
This program aims to stimulate and develop scientific entrepreneurship and technological innovation. Small (STTR) has similar missions but requires its small business applicants to collaborate with a research institution.
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