Raising capital is one of your biggest jobs as an entrepreneur. Many organizations help fund female entrepreneurs by providing small grants.
A grant is money you don't have to pay back unlike business loans and credit cards. And because of this, it isn't easy to receive a grant since it is so competitive. We have put together a list of 11 amazing opportunities of business grants open to women and information on how to apply for them.
It’s important to bear in mind that while grants are not loans and don’t need to be paid back, they can be hard to come by and involve countless hours of research, not to mention lengthy application processes. It is therefore recommended that prior to opening your business, you understand your capital stack and do not base your intention to open a business or even expand one on the expectation that your business will be approved for a grant.
Grants.gov is a database that contains all the federally sponsored grants, including those for small businesses. Their grants are open for male and female entrepreneurs. So, it is still good to start looking, even though they are not specifically targeting women. If you don’t happen to find a specific grant for women, carefully look through other options, such as grants for people who are of color or ancestry and/or live or are opening a business in a particular economic zone.
To apply just visit their website and go through the variety of grants options available. Choose whichever one is the most suitable for you and your business. Also make sure to check which ones you are eligible for as there are dozens of federal government agencies that are a part of this database.
2. National Association For The Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
The NASE is highly selective of who they give their grants to. Only members of the NASE are eligible for the grant out of the 50,000 members. To become a member there is a basic annual fee of $120 and in return you can network with its members, use their resources, receive discounts on products and more.
In addition to qualify for their grant program you must show how your business needs can be met with the grant you have applied for. Along with which you must also show how your business will improve with the grant.
3. Amber Grant
Amber Grant was launched in honor of a woman named Amber who died before fulfilling her dreams of starting a business. The grant provides a new female entrepreneur $10,000 every month. Plus one of these winners also receives an additional $25,000 at the end of the year.
You can apply any time of the year but the application for each month's grant is cut off on the last of each month. You have to pay an application fee of only $15 and share your personal and your business’s story. Furthermore, this grant is only open for women.
4. IdeaCafe Grant
The IdeaCafe Grant is available for men and women both. It is open for anyone who owns a business or plans to start one. They offer a micro-grant of $1,000 to one winner every year. Their application deadline is in January so it is important to apply early. And while the grant isn't specifically for women most of its winners are female business owners. The application is very simple and there is no application fee either.
This grant is a great opportunity for new startups that need funding. Plus, for those who haven't started their business due to financial constraints.
5. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
Every year 21 female business owners are awarded up to $100,000. The first-place prize for the top 7 is $100,000 and one-on-one mentoring while second place is for the next 14 winners. The next winners also receive $30,000.
Additionally, all 21 winners will be granted a spot in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Six-Day Executive Program and will be able to join workshops and seminars where they will be able to network.
The grant is targeted towards female-led small businesses in the early stages between one to three years. They must be generating at least $100,000 but it doesn't need to be profitable. For more information on the Carter Women’s Initiative award and how to apply click here.
Grantsforwomen.org is a database for grants that aim for female entrepreneurs. They not only provide information about grants but also other funding opportunities like scholarships and other opportunities. To apply for a grant, you must first find which one is the most applicable for you and then follow the instructions.
7. FedEx Small Business Grant
While the FedEx Small business grant isn’t only for women but female business owners are strongly encouraged to apply. They choose 12 winners every year who receive 1 of 3 prizes. One person receives the gold prize of $50,000 and $7,500 in FedEx services. The second person receives a silver prize of $30,000 and $5,000 in FedEx services. The next 10 winners receive $15,000 and $1,000 in printing services.
8. The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant is a small business grant aimed at female business owners in the jewelry industry. To apply for the grant, you have to submit a portfolio and answer a few questions. Winners receive a $7,500 cash prize, $1000 worth of Halstead jewelry supplies and advertising within the industry.
Keep in mind that if you’re still debating on what industry to go into for your next business venture, the global online jewelry industry is expected to increase to nearly $20BN US by the end of 2022 and is currently enjoying a YOY growth of 15%.
9. Open Meadows Foundation
Open Meadows Foundation provides grants for women led projects that encourage gender, economic and racial justice. They offer $2000 to projects that are facing financial difficulties. While they are not currently accepting applications you can check out the application process on their website. To qualify you must have $75,000 or less as your budget.
10. 37 Angels
37 Angels is not a traditional grant program. They are actively trying to close the gender gap in startup investments. You can apply through Gust every 2 months, 8 applicants are selected to make their pitch to the angel investors. Winners may receive grants between $50,000 and $200,000 plus they also provide education and support. You can expect to hear back from them after 4 weeks.
11. State And Local Small Business Grants For Women
When looking for business grants just make sure to check out the options that we have suggested. There are also state and local options when looking for grants. Also please book an appointment with your local Small Business Development Center. they are aware of any grant or financial help available near you and they may be able to help. Another option would be to look into SBA loans.
How To Find Small Business Grants For Women
When looking for a small business grant there are five important steps to follow:
- Do your research
- Check if you’re eligible
- Apply on time
- Track your application
- Beware of scams
The Bottom Line
The options we have given you should help you start your journey to acquire a small business grant. When you do apply, just make sure to read and understand their requirements as well as eligibility criteria. It’s advisable to have your capital stack already in place prior to opening your business, as grants should be seen as a gift and not seen instead as the financial basis for opening a new business. If you are unable to find a grant then you can look into other financing options like business loans.We outline dozens of options for both start-ups and existing businesses who are looking for expansion loans or a buffer to offset payroll, inventory or taxes.