You can use business grants for women if you want to build and grow a business. A number of challenging circumstances often get in the way, and many owners seek useful alternatives.
Read on to learn more about them, including what they are, how they work, common requirements, recommendations, and various resources women-owned businesses can use to grow in meaningful ways.
9 Small Business Grants for Women-Owned Businesses
Below, we have collected information about nine of the best small business grants for women-owned businesses.
Each one provides funding for small businesses, prioritizing small businesses owned by women and women of color.
The Fearless Fund
While the Fearless Fund itself is a larger organization that offers business grants for black women
, the Fearless Strivers Grant Initiative is a collaboration between The Fearless Fund and Mastercard that will grant $10,000 to eleven small businesses owned and operated by black women.
To qualify, applicants need to be the primary owners of small businesses baking $3,000,000 or less in annual revenue.
To enter, applicants must submit an entry form with all of the necessary information included.
- Further opportunities are available
- This grant is not available in US territories (Guam and Puerto Rico).
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award offers three different levels of grant money to qualifying women-owned small businesses. Winners receive up to $100,000 if chosen.
To apply, qualifying businesses must be for-profit businesses in their early stages, must be in business for at least one year, cannot have raised more than $2 million in dilutive funding at the time of application, and must strive toward positive impacts.
For convenience, the application is available online at the Cartier Women’s Initiative website.
- Applicant must be a woman in a leadership role.
- The grant is only offered to applicants with English proficiency.
- Applicants must participate in the fellowship program.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
The Eileen Fisher grant offers several grants each year. One is worth $200,000, while other individual grants can be worth $10,000-$40,000.
The grant prioritizes women-owned businesses that are making efforts to fight climate change.
To qualify, the business in question needs to be a 501(c)(3) non-profit company. Applying can be done through the organization’s website.
- Designed for non-profit organizations
- Only women-owned businesses qualify.
- Qualifying organizations cannot align with political parties or religious organizations.
- Qualifying organizations cannot be academic institutions.
- The application period is not always open.
The Amber Grant Foundation
This grant offers up to $35,000 in funds monthly as small business grants for women.
The offerings include several business categories, including marketing. Winners can receive $10,000 monthly or $25,000 in year-end grants.
The Ambers Grant's requirements are not terribly strict, and this option can be great for starting up women-owned businesses.
To apply, simply fill out the form on the foundation’s website.
- There is no minimum time requirement for the business’s operation.
- Applications do not have to sound corporate or complicated.
- There’s a $15 application fee for this grant, but requesting a waiver is possible.
SoGal Startup Grant
The SoGal Startup is one of several grants for small business women, but it goes a step further and seeks to fund businesses owned and operated by black women.
Grant winners can receive between $5,000 and $10,000 in startup funding in addition to professional business guidance.
The requirements are minimal, but the business must be registered and black-owned
to qualify. To apply, fill out the application on the organization’s website.
- Businesses can apply anytime.
- The grant is intended for black women, but non-binary individuals qualify as well.
- Multiracial applicants qualify.
- Applicants must demonstrate a clear plan to seek capital.
- Applicants must have a scalable business plan.
Tory Burch Foundation Grant
This grant is part of a year-long fellowship program that provides educational resources, networking opportunities, and a $5,000 grant.
To qualify, the business must be majority women-owned and for-profit in its early stages. The foundation prefers that businesses apply to earn at least $75,000 annually.
To apply, fill out the application on the Tory Burch Foundation’s website.
This grant provides additional value aside from funds.
The grant amount is somewhat lower than other business grants.
Comcast awards $10,000 in grants for women entrepreneurs several times each year. The funds are intended for both women business owners and business owners of color.
The grant also offers business advice and makeover grants applicants can pursue in an effort to grow their businesses.
To qualify, applicants must be in operation for at least 3 years with 25 staff or fewer. To apply, business owners must apply their specific city’s cycle.
This grant is available to businesses at least half owned by women or people of color.
This grant targets specific cities during each cycle.
Girlboss Foundation Grant
Girlboss Foundation debuted in 2014. It has awarded over $110,000 in grants to female business owners in the music, design, arts, and fashion industries.
There have been no updates since 2019, though.
Open Meadows Foundation
This grant can help start, boost, or expand women-owned businesses.
Open Meadows Foundation focuses on promoting racial/gender/economic justice. Specifically in projects steered by women.
The foundation grants a maximum of $2,000 to female-led activities that benefit girls and women.
Open Meadows Foundation mainly focuses on start-ups and small organizations. To qualify for this grant, your project needs to have a budget that does not exceed $75,000.
Small Business Grants for Latino Businesses
What Are Business Grants?
Business grants are funds designed to build up businesses, especially small businesses.
Unlike a business loan, the money awarded to grant winners is not being borrowed by the business.
This money is essentially a gift that business owners can use to grow and improve their business practices.
While the idea of being granted essentially free money sounds great, it’s not easy.
Filling out an application is only one step in the process, and successfully receiving grant money usually takes a lot of work.
The process involves researching and qualifying for specific grants, filling out an application, submitting information the grant-giving organization requests, and sometimes participating in specific programs in order to receive the award.
There are several types of grants according to the law to choose from as well, including:
- Federal Grants: Those provided and backed by the federal government
- State Government Grants: Grants provided to businesses at a state level
- Private Grants: Grants that are offered by private foundations or businesses
- Local Grants: Grants that focus on granting funds to small businesses in a specific area.
What are the 4 types of grants for small business women?
There are four main types of grants according to your needs:
- Project Grants provide funds for specific purposes or goals associated with project activities such as research projects, course development projects or capital campaigns.
- Operating grants provide core support for organizational operations, such as salaries, administrative costs, and overhead expenses related to the organization’s mission or focus areas.
- Program Initiatives refer to any initiative taken by government entities to address increasingly seen issues within the country ranging from poverty alleviation programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC), disaster relief funds provided by FEMA after natural disasters, etc.,
- Endowment Funds/Scholarships represent donations made in perpetuity with no set expiration date whereas scholarships refer more toward one-time donations set aside for one individual's further education on various topics - similar but different concepts altogether.
Now that you’ve learned about small business grants and a few of the availabilities designed to promote women-run businesses, you can seek grant opportunities that fit your company's needs.
Step into the process prepared and confident, and keep an eye out for new opportunities that can take your business to the next level.
How to Get Grants
Most Common Grant Requirements
Government grants for women are somewhat more difficult to standardize than business loans.
The variety of grants available might cater to certain business types, sizes, years in operation, or numerous other factors.
It’s impossible to list the requirements associated with each grant you might apply for, as they vary significantly.
However, for business grants specific to women-owned businesses, the key requirement is owning a business and being a woman.
Most grants offer convenient online applications, but the amount of information these applications may require can also vary.
For the best chances of success, have all of your pertinent business information ready and available when you apply.
How to Choose the Right Business Grant for Small Business Women
Women-owned business grants are designed to assist women entrepreneurs from a variety of industries and backgrounds, so it’s crucial to choose grants that fit your company.
If you’re working with a team to select appropriate grants to apply for, it’s a good idea to have a list of qualifications.
Cover information about your business structure, industry, revenue, ownership, goals, community impact, staff members, IRS registration, and profit status.
This way, it will be easier to skim through the available grants and select the ones that are designed to enhance your business.
Further, determine whether you want to apply for public and private or government business grants for women.
How to Apply For Minority Business Grants?
The first step in applying for any grant is understanding the specific programs available in your area.
Your state or local government may offer assistance specifically geared toward helping minority-owned businesses start or expand their operations.
You’ll also need to do some research into federal programs that may be able to help finance your project, such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program or the Minority Business Enterprise & Development (MBED) program within the US Department of Commerce.
Establishing metrics by which success can be measured before submitting your proposal.
It will make it easier for funding agencies to ask about them later on down the line during review processes or after they give out awards.
Finally, once you’ve submitted all necessary paperwork and met the required qualifications, always follow up frequently with grant administrators, so they know what’s going on with regards to current projects funded by them and future ones hoping for backing!
Tips for Applying for Grants for Minority Women
Business grants for minority women can become quite competitive, so try the following tips to give your business the best possible chance of receiving the funding you need.
Minority business loans
- Take grant writing courses or work with a professional grant writer.
- Have a well-designed business plan prepared.
- Keep an eye on grants you qualify for so that you’re one of the first applicants when the cycle opens.
- Be aware of other businesses yours is competing with.
- Speak and write professionally.
- Build a robust network of supporters
- Emphasize your business's positive changes (or plans to make) in your community.
What Can You Use Small Business Grants For?
Small business grants are usually designed for a specific purpose; as such, there are limits surrounding how the funds can be used.
You can use small business grants for:
- developing new products or services,
- expanding an existing product or service line,
- training employees in emerging technologies,
- upgrading IT infrastructure and cyber security measures for better data protection,
- marketing campaigns aimed at increasing customer awareness about your products/services (across different channels),
- building a stronger brand presence in local communities or other geographical markets
—the list goes on!
If the requirements for a grant are somewhat broad, grant winners can usually use the money to enhance the function of their business.
However, if the grant is designed for a specific purpose, the funds must be used toward that end.
For example, if the grant in question was offered to increase business marketing efforts, the funds awarded need to be used for that purpose.
Specific purposes can include hiring new staff, growing the company, developing a new product, or creating a new program.
Funding Challenges that Women Entrepreneurs Often Face
The business landscape has changed since the turn of the century.
However, the hardships entrepreneurs face still affect women (especially those of color) disproportionately compared to their male counterparts.
Society has placed heavy burdens on women for decades, and those burdens tend to follow women in business
, even when they’re giving their all to overcome them.
For example, women struggle to secure business funding, as according to a survey conducted in 2014, only 3% of companies with venture capital were run by a female CEO.
Further, businesswomen may find it challenging to establish themselves as unique individuals in a once primarily male industry and showcase their accomplishments in a way that other business professionals understand.
Women entrepreneurs often feel the need to adapt to standardized business practices, despite the desire to operate in ways that set them apart from other business leaders.
For one, business-owning women tend to give more credit to their teams during business pitches, using terms like “we” when male CEOs often use “I” to suggest greater accomplishments.
Business grants for women are designed to remove some of those barriers.
They aim to focus on the value of women-run businesses without forcing them to contend with trying to push back against archaic views and behaviors.
Why Are Grants Important?
Grants are important when building and enhancing small businesses because these small organizations do not always have the funds available to make big changes alone.
Rather than taking out loans that the business might not be able to repay (depending on the future landscape), grants take away much of the risks associated with securing funds.
Governments and other organizations give small businesses specific funding that the team can use to achieve business goals.
Not only do grants work to fund unique business ideas
and promote positive goals, but they’re also essential when fueling various economies.
More Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
Try exploring the following resources for assistance for women-owned businesses.
- Women's Business Centers. WBCs are a part of a national network to help women start businesses. You can find them across the country. They aim to help women start and grow businesses and find solutions to common business-related obstacles. They provide business training, counseling, and federal contracts. They also help women find ways to get capital.
- Federal contracting centers: You can register for SAM (System for Award Management) to contract for federal jobs and nonprofits to receive grants. SAM provides certification services, technology, and training to compete in the federal sector.
- Federal contracting programs: Women can get federal contracts thanks to Women-Owned Small Businesses Contracting Programs.
- Ascent online learning platform: Women entrepreneurs can grow their businesses through Ascent. This is a digital online tool that provides free online learning resources.
- National Association of Women Business Owners: They address the concerns of female entrepreneurs.
- National Women’s Business Council: In conjunction with the Office of the President, the SBA, and Congress, it addresses business issues and finds solutions. Women have access to mentor groups, alternative lending programs, and other resources.
- Office of Women’s Business Ownership: This SBA organization helps underserved and excluded businesswomen. It offers training, marketing opportunities, assistance programs, and access to funding.
- National Association for Female Executives: The Association promotes and supports women in executive positions. In addition, NAFE provides education, networking, and advocacy to help women “move into senior ranks.”
- Women Impacting Public Policy: The nonpartisan organization works nationally for women-owned businesses. WIPP educates female entrepreneurs on tax, health care, and other topics on policy and legislative matters.
- SBA's Women-Owned Businesses Portal. This is an online portal run by the SBA. It provides training, counseling, and other valuable resources to help and empower women entrepreneurs.
- National Women Business Owners Corporation. The NWBOC is an organization that offers a national certification for female-owned businesses. In addition, it helps them find contracting opportunities, amongst other things.
- U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce. They aim to help women build businesses, find government contracts, and more.
How to Become a Certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
The WOSB certification helps women compete for government contracts.
According to the SBA:
“The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.”
To get a WOSB certification, one or more women must own 51% of the business and be US citizens.
You can get the certification through the SAM (System for Award Management) website.
Alternatives to Small-Business Grants
Whether your company needs additional funding or you simply haven’t found a grant that fits your needs, alternatives to small-business grants might be worth exploring.
Alternative lenders are a favorable option for women who do not qualify for a grant and require financing.
Camino Financial is a great alternative.
Our small business loan
allows you to access financing from $5,100 to $25,000. After completing an application, you'll know instantly if you prequalify.
The loan requirements
are few; some of them are:
Apply for a business loan today
- Have your business registered and operating for at least 12 months
- Annual earnings of at least $30,000
- That you allow us to review your cash flow for the last few months
- If you do not have a social security number, you can apply with your ITIN
How to get a small business grant?
The first step is understanding what kind of funding you're after.
Knowing what kind of funding you're looking for will help narrow down the available options and allow you to focus on those that best suit your needs; for example, grants to start a business or boost an older one.
Next is researching potential grant programs and matching them to your specific needs.
Numerous organizations provide grants specifically designed for different types of businesses; take some time to explore what’s available so that you can identify which ones might be a good fit for you.
Once you've identified the right type of grant program, the next step is putting together an application package—and this part shouldn't be taken lightly!
What grants are available for small businesses?
Federal, state, and local grants can provide much-needed funds for startup costs such as purchasing a building, hiring employees, and developing products or services.
What are business grants?
Business grants are cash awards or other forms of financial assistance given to entrepreneurs and businesses for specific purposes.
These grants can provide funds for acquiring new equipment, research, and development activities, expansion of existing operations, marketing campaigns, hiring additional staff members, training programs, and many other activities.
How can a woman get money to start a business?
The most popular way to fund a business venture is through traditional lending sources, such as loans from banks and credit unions.
You may also use crowdfunding or granting organizations, which can both serve as great sources of financing for new business owners who are willing to put in the research and effort required to find them.
Finally, don't forget to look at personal wealth accounts like investments, retirement savings, and borrowed family friends willing to lend support investment really reap benefits growth venture!
Is the amber grant a real Grant?
Yes, the Amber Grant is a real grant. It is an incredible opportunity for women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to receive financial backing to help launch or grow their businesses.
The Amber Grant was founded in 1998 by Wendy Kelly, and since then, it has provided over $1 million in grants and services to more than 600 women-owned businesses worldwide.
The program offers up to $4,000 quarterly awards each month of the year ($16K total). In addition to this, one lucky recipient receives an additional $25K finalist award at the end of each calendar year.
Which are the best grants for black women-owned businesses?
Several organizations have created grants to provide resources and financial assistance to black small business owners to level the playing field in business opportunities.
Some of these top grant programs include: Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program, Amber Grants For Women, FOCUSED Grant for African American Females, and Pinnacle Awards Scholarships For MSMEs Owned By Ethnic Minority Female Entrepreneurs.