If you’re a female entrepreneur, several grants programs provide you with funds that can be used for multiple small business funding needs.
Knowing where to look for small business grants for women gives you an advantage in financing your business launch or expansion.
The Financial Barriers for Female Entrepreneurs
Women have made significant strides when it comes to the number of small businesses owned. The Kauffman Foundation, which studies and supports entrepreneurship, noted in a 2017 report that the rate of new female entrepreneurs grew by 29.1 percent from 2007 to 2016. However, women still trail men substantially when it comes to starting new businesses overall.
As for securing capital, women face a steep climb, especially compared to male entrepreneurs. A 2018 report by the Library of Congress and National Women’s Business Council illustrates the sharp contrast among genders when it comes to small business funding:
- Women business owners raise smaller amounts of money to finance their companies than men raise and are more dependent on personal sources rather than external ones.
- Gender disparities at the time of a company’s start do not disappear in the following years.
- Women have fewer networks, have fewer connections, and fewer economic resources than men do.
Grants as Opportunity
Fortunately, there are many local, state, federal, and private sources for grants designed specifically for women. Here are a few:
- Federal grants
- Grants.gov. This clearinghouse is a sortable database of federally sponsored grants for businesses working with the U.S. government.
- SBA. The U.S. Small Business Administration has several competitive grants programs for small businesses that add to federal research and development.
- Local and state grants
- Women’s Business Centers. Managed by the SBA, these centers, which number about 100, are located nationwide. They provide business development skills and access to capital, helping entrepreneurs find grants and loans.
- Small Business Development Centers. Also operated by the SBA, these regional centers are usually located at colleges or universities. They provide free one-on-one advising on topics such as building a business plan, market research, and financing.
- Enterprise Development Resources. Another federally funded program deployed locally, there are enterprise development resources available in every state, focused on delivering strong local business communities.
- Private grants
- Girlboss. The Girlboss Foundation provides $15,000 grants twice a year to female and female-identifying entrepreneurs who work in the arts, design fashion, and music.
- Amber Grant Foundation. Each month, the foundation awards a woman-owned business a $2,000 grant. At the end of each year, one of the monthly recipients wins an additional $25,000.
- Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant. The women’s clothing retailer awards $100,000 annually to 10 women business owners.
- FedEx Small Business Grant. Each year, the delivery company awards 10 small businesses up to $25,000 each and additional money to use for FedEx printing and business services.
At Benetrends, we strongly support women entrepreneurs in their funding strategies. Our Rollover as Business Startups (ROBS) program leverages your existing 401(k) and IRA assets to get you the money you need quickly to start and expand. To learn more, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.