Business Grants for Women Entrepreneurs
Many business grants are geared toward those who face more financial, social and political challenges gaining their footing in the business world, such as women.
Top Business Grants for Women
In today’s economy, entrepreneurs need access to capital for turn their business ideas into success stories. This is especially difficult for small businesses led by women. Data from the loan market suggests that female entrepreneurs are 5 percent less likely to receive conventional business loans and on average, women who manage to secure a loan also receive smaller sums than male borrowers. This means that businesses with female owners struggle to obtain credit, which is a necessary part of being competitive in any market.
Fortunately, several lenders and corporations have acknowledged female entrepreneurs’ disadvantages and now offer business grants for women. In order to receive one of these grants, business owners have to go through an application process. Each application process varies depending on the grant. However, the first important step is finding the grants to apply for. Here are a few places to start:
InnovateHER Challenge — a competition open to businesses that offer products that positively impact the lives of women and families. To apply, first compete in a local InnovateHER challenge before advancing to the national competition. The top three winners in past years have competed for prizes of $40,000, $20,000, and $10,000.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program — small business grants for women-owned businesses making positive social and environmental impact. To apply, complete the application online. A maximum of $10,000 per recipient for 10 women-owned businesses each year.
Amber Grant — a small business grant for women business owners created in honor of a young woman who died before she could fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams. To apply, tell your story (and pay a $15 application fee). The program awards one $1,000 grant to a woman business owner each month. One winner will also be awarded an additional $10,000 at the end of the year.
#GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant — a biannual grant for female entrepreneurs working in creative industries. To apply, fill out the application online and include an example of your work. Winners receive a $15,000 grant and online exposure via Girlboss’ site.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award — a grant awarded to 18 female entrepreneurs around the globe each year. To apply, follow the application instructions online. All 18 finalists will receive either a first prize of $100,000 and one-on-one mentoring or a second prize of $30,000 in prize money.
Tory Burch Fellow — founded in 2004 to support women entrepreneurs. Each year, its Tory Burch Fellows program chooses 10 Fellows to receive a $10,000 grant, a trip to Tory Burch headquarters for three days of networking and workshops with innovative business owners, and a year of support from the Foundation. The 10 Fellows also have the opportunity to pitch a panel of judges in an effort win a $100,000 investment, 50% of which is a grant and 50% of which is a recoverable grant (equivalent to a zero-interest loan).
Open Meadows Foundation — grants of $2,000 to organizations that benefit women and girls and promote gender, racial, and economic justice. Organizations must be women-led and may not have a budget of more than $75,000. Small and startup organizations are given priority.
Although not specific to women business owners, Grants.gov is worth exploring for information about federal government grants. These grants are awarded in order to provide public services and stimulate the US economy. In addition to searching for federal government grants, you can use Grants.gov to learn the basics of grants and get tips applying.