Funding can make or break a business. Many start-ups die, and numerous small enterprises do not take off or expand because of a lack of capital. It is especially hard for female entrepreneurs.It is under this backdrop that many private organizations and non-profits, as well as government entities fund grant programs that target women-owned businesses. Their efforts are explicitly aimed at leveling the entrepreneurial playing field for women business owners. For female entrepreneurs, understanding what these grants are and how to apply for them can provide the much-needed capital to grow and expand their businesses.
Small Business Grants for Women
Grants are great funding sources because, unlike loans, one does not have to pay back the money awarded. As such, the competition for these grants is often very high and includes an intensive application process. Here's a list of six great small business grants for women-owned businesses and the qualification requirements.
1. Government Grants
Grants.gov is a database for all federally sponsored grants. While it is open for both male and female business owners, it is the best place for female entrepreneurs to find federal grants for female business owners.The site's database has all federal grants, including those specific to small businesses. Women business owners can visit the grant applicants section to apply for assistance based on eligibility.
2. IFundWomen Universal Grant
IFundWomen launched this program last year, IFundWomen has secured more than $8M in corporate grants to pay forward to their members. So far, they have only deployed around 40% of the grant pool, so there is still a ton of money to go around.
Requirements: Filling out an application.
This application should take you no more than 20 minutes to fill out. Pro Tip: Have your business pitch written out in advance so you can simply copy and paste it in. The rest of the questions are basic and easy.
You can fill out the application here.
3. Amber Grant Foundation
This foundation awards $10,000 to one female business owner every month. One of the 12 recipients for the year gets an additional $25,000 year-end grant in December. The program is geared to helping women business owners achieve their entrepreneurial goals in honor of Amber, a young woman who died before fulfilling hers.
Requirements: Looks for female owners passionate about their ventures. Tell a story about your business and what you intend to do if awarded the money. Find more details on the application process on the site.
4. Girlboss Foundation Grant
This foundation is exclusive to women business owners in the design, music and art industries. Two female entrepreneurs that display creativity, innovation and forward planning in the above sectors are awarded $15,000 every year plus online exposure via Girlboss' website.
Requirements: Samples of your creative works and a comprehensive plan on how you'll use the grant money.
5. Cartier Women's Initiative Award
This award aims to propel women business owners worldwide to their entrepreneurial success. Twenty-one finalists are chosen from the pool of applicants and receive business mentoring and media visibility. From the 21, seven are awarded $100,000. Cartier provides them with an expert for one-on-one mentoring. The remaining 14 winners get $30,000 in prize money.
Requirements: Early-stage, for-profit business. Must participate in the January to April Cartier program.
6. FedEx Small Business Grant
This program is not technically only for women business owners, but encourages women to apply by its policy of fairly awarding grants to both men and women. There are a total of 10 winners every year. The $25,000 grand prize is awarded to one winner, and a $15,000 silver prize to another. The eight remaining winners get $7,500 each. All winners also receive FedEx printing and business services.
Requirements: Your business must be more than six months old, with no more than 99 employees, and not a non-profit. Find more information here.
Join the Community
As a female business owner, you need to belong to a community that will offer the support, ideas and morale needed to stir your firm to higher levels. Fundid is the fastest growing female business owners' community in the United States. We come together for peer learning, access capital and strategic services.
Fundid is on a mission to get women owned business the capital they need to grow so that we can all close the business wealth gap. While 42% of business in the US are owned by women, they only account for 4% of revenue generated by private businesses. We spend our time at Fundid thinking about what the world would look like if women also generated 42% of revenue and how to get them the capital they need to make that happen. Fundid is a challenger business bank, business lender and grant marketplace built on from the feedback of women entrepreneurs.