With access to capital being so tight these days, business grants for women has become a hot topic of discussion. Over the past few decades, there have been a surge in the number of women-owned businesses. From 1997 to 2007, the number of women-owned businesses grew almost twice as fast as that of men-owned businesses. This shows how women entrepreneurs played a huge part in the growth of small business scene.
It is noticeable, however, that women entrepreneurs applying for business loans are often rejected by banks and other loan boards. In looking at the investment scene, it doesn’t get any better. In fact, statistics show that the investment funding gap between male-led and women-led startups is getting even worse. Business grants for women serve as an alternative means for capital funding for female founders.
Grants are financial awards given by governmental agencies, colleges, charitable foundations and corporations. They are awarded for specific purposes aligned to the unique interests or priorities of each funding entity. Grants do not have to be paid back and are non-diluting, meaning that for startups, no equity is given away in exchange for funding.
Although many unscrupulous marketers would have you believe otherwise, no business grants for women are available through governmental agencies. In fact, governments do NOT award grants for women or any other underrepresented group to startup a business or pay off debts – never. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
However, the good news is that there are business grants for women, but they are offered by charitable foundations, corporations and other non-governmental groups.
And while there are a lot of grants for research and development, there are very few business grants for women. To narrow down your search, we made a list of the top business grants for women.
- 37 Angels Grant: 37 Angels offer as much as $150,000 to women-owned companies should they be chosen for the grant. They recognize the inequality given to women entrepreneurs in starting a company, especially with regards to loans. As the business grows, 37 Angels can also be a great source of investment capital.
- Amber Grants: Amber Grant are tailored for local women-owned businesses. Each month, they select one company for a $500 grant, and at the end of the year, one of the monthly winners are selected for a $2,000 grant.
- Belle Capital Grants: Belle Capital offers several business grants for women, depending on the purpose of your company. The group can also be a source for later-stage investment capital too.
- Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant: This grant, sponsored by Eileen Fisher, is for women entrepreneurs whose company’s motivation is to uphold social and environmental progress. Grant is given only to women-owned companies which have been in business for at least 3 years, and have an annual profit of not exceeding $1 million. The grant amounts up to $120,000.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: FedEx allows for a fair competition of applications by letting the public vote for the winner of the grant. The grant is amounted $75,000, with free publicity through FedEx’s advertisements and media channels.
- Huggies Mom Inspired Grants: There are grants that are specifically for moms. Huggies offers twelve Mom Inspired Grants worth $15,000 each annually for women who innovate ideas inspired by the learnings of being a mother.
- Halstead Grant: Halstead Grant awards an annual grant worth $6,000 to small businesses which shows exceptional talent in silverworks and design.
- Idea Cafe Grants: Idea Cafe Grant is given to businesses whose vision is aligned to societal and environmental progress in the society. A grant of worth $1,000 is given.
- InnovateHER Challenge: The InnovateHER Challenge is an annual event held by SBA (Small Business Administration), a US government agency. Through the event, women entrepreneurs face an audience and a panel to pitch in their business ideas. While not technically a grant, the winner does receive an award valued at $75,000.
- Mission Main Street Grants: Google, together with Chase, a leading finance company, offers more than $3 million worth of grants to a maximum of 20 small business each year. One of their grants, the Mission Main Street Project offers a grant worth $150,000 to the winner.
- Open Meadows Foundation Grants: The Open Meadows Foundation Grant offers women-owned businesses who promote racial, gender, or economic equality, and with an operational budget not exceeding $75,000. This business grants for women program offers awards of up to $3,000 each.
- Small Business Innovation Research: Small Business Innovation Research is another grant that is intended for research and development of technology for small businesses. Phase I grants can be up to $150,000 and Phase II grants can be as much as $1 million over a period of two years if the research yields promising results.
- Small Business Technology Transfer Program: This grant supports the advancement of research for small businesses, with an employee population of less than 500. The grant amounts to $75,000 during the first phase, and should the research be successful, you can receive a supplementary grant, amounting to $750,000.
- Smart Women Smart Money: Utah’s Zion Bank offers business grants for women in need of startup capital. Through this competitive program, winners receive a grant worth $3,000.
There you have it – a list of the 14 top business grants for women. Female entrepreneurs might also want to look at business plan competitions as a potential source of startup capital. Interested in learning more about business grants for women and how to successfully apply and win? Contact me today and let’s talk.