7 Grants for Women Entrepreneurs Looking to Fund a New Business

The days of business being a “Man’s World” has been dwindling over the last 20 years. The Small Business Association (SBA) estimates that in 2019, 42 percent of all small businesses were women-owned. They generated around 1.9 trillion dollars in revenue, too.

Grants are a practical way for women entrepreneurs to get the funds they need to start a business. What grants are available to help you get your new business up and running?

What Is a Business Grant? 

A grant is a monetary award provided to support a person, concept, or business. They can come from nonprofit organizations, corporations, or federal, state, or local governments. Unlike business loans, you do not repay a grant. That makes them an attractive option for entrepreneurs.

Often grants are very specific about who can qualify. The goal might go beyond just supporting a new business. They may be looking to promote diversity or help make a market more competitive. For example, there are grants for veterans, minorities, low-income individuals, and, yes, women entrepreneurs.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Grant? 

The most obvious benefit of getting a grant is you don’t repay it. There are no late fees or interest. That is something every business owner would love to hear.

The process isn’t complicated, either. Grants are readily available and easy to apply for, although they tend to be competitive and require lots of documentation. There are few limitations with grants, either. You can apply for as many as you want; if you qualify for one, you will probably be eligible for others.

Are There Downsides to Grants?

Looking for and applying for grants can take time. Grant applications also require lots of paperwork, and it takes time to get the funds. You also need to justify your need for the grant. If you are a woman looking to start a business, you may have to provide a business plan, budget details, and market research.

In other words, it takes a little work to get them. But, if you are not afraid of a challenge, getting grants is an effective way to get that initial funding and even carry the business for a while.

Things To Consider Before Applying for a Business Grant 

There are a lot of grants out there, and they are not all created equally. So your best chance is being willing to do the research necessary to find the right option and giving them everything they need to see you as the perfect candidate.

Plan Ahead

You already know it takes a lot of work to get a grant. It also takes time. There is no quick fix when it comes to grants. The organization offering the grant is getting a lot of applications. If it is a government agency, they can move slowly.

Now tack on the time it takes to research the grants and put together the documentation you need to apply. This is time well spent if you get the award. It feels like time lost when you don’t, though, and you won’t get some of them. The competition, especially among entrepreneurs, is stiff.

Free Is a Relative Word

The money is free, meaning you don’t repay it. That doesn’t mean there are no strings, though. In many cases, you can expect to have to do regular reports to show the grant is going to good use.

There may also be contingency agreements in grants. In other words, you get to keep the money as long as you abide by specific rules. In some cases, the contingency is putting down funds of your own. The organization providing the grant may only match what you invest.

Grants often come with rules on what you can use the money for. The funds rarely go to supporting you while you build a business. You may have to prove that you used the money strictly for the company and not to support yourself.

They may stipulate further on how you can use the money. For example, to provide jobs to minorities or to purchase technology.

Still, even with all that, grants are worth it if you are a woman entrepreneur looking to turn your passion into a paying business. So, where can you go to find grants for women?

Grants Available to Women Entrepreneurs

You can group the grants into two classifications: ones designated for women and more general grant opportunities.

1. Amber Grant

The Amber Grant is one of the better-known grant opportunities for women. WomensNet founded it in 1998 in memory of Amber Wigdahl. The Amber Grant Foundation has two awards each month for $10,000 apiece. They must go to two separate women-owned businesses. They also provide an additional $25,000 to 24 grant winners at the end of the year.

How to qualify: 

The Amber Grant Foundation offers an online application process. You simply tell them about your business and what is the motivation behind it. They also ask you to explain why you should be the one to get the grant.

You will  pay an application fee for the grant. The fee is $15, and you can pay via credit card or PayPal. They announce the grant winners on the 23rd of each month.

2. IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database

IFundWomen is not a grant but a way to apply for many grants at once. It is a grant marketplace. Every time IFundWomen has a new grant, they match the criteria against its existing applications. If you match, you go through the application processes for the grant.

IfundWomen does more than help you find grants, though. They will also teach you how to get them and provide business resources to help you get off on the right foot. They offer options other than grants, too, such as crowdfunding.

How to qualify: 

The application process is online and takes a few minutes to fill out. You must also fill out a new application whenever your information changes. There is no fee for the initial application, but there may be for the grant. It is crucial to keep in mind IFundWomen is about matching you to potential grants. Therefore, you still have to go through the grant application process.

3. Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

Cartier provides grants to three women entrepreneurs in nine regions around the world. This initiative program focuses on women-owned businesses that deal with social, economic, and environmental development issues. Along with grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, the winner also gets executive coaching and access to training workshops.

How to qualify: 

To qualify, you must have an early-stage, for-profit business generating revenue. There are other criteria, as well, so read the instructions closely. You can apply online, and they require considerable business documents, including your resume and information about your product.

There are also grants for minority businesses owned by women,

4. SoGal Foundation

SoGal Foundation offers startup grants to black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs. Grants are for $5,000 or $10,000, given on a rolling basis. Along with funding, you will also receive business advice. Apply online.

5. Fearless Strivers Grant

Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is for businesses owned by black women. The winners get $10.000 and digital tools that help them sustain their businesses. They also get one-on-one mentorship from Mastercard, who helps sponsor the contest. Apply online.

Women searching for grant opportunities can look beyond grants that designate a gender, too.

6. FedEx

FedEx offers ten small businesses $30,000 grants each year. To be eligible, you must run a for-profit business with fewer than 99 employees. You can apply for the grants online.

There are also industry-specific grants available.

7. Halstead Grant

 The Halstead Grant is for startups in the silver jewelry industry.

It takes patience to look for and apply for grants. If you are a woman entrepreneur, though, it is something that can pay off for you by giving you funds to get started.

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