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If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur who needs a bit of financial backing to help bring you closer to your goals, applying for a grant can be a hugely effective solution. There are a number of federal and private grants offered specifically to women in business in the US, many of which are tailored for small business owners.
Whether you’ve already established your company or you simply have an idea for a new business, women-owned business grants for small business are a great way to facilitate growth and provide better opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
Business loans for women are another way to gain funding, but they of course need to be paid back.
Tips for getting small business grants
Before you begin applying for small business grants, it’s important to develop a detailed business plan that outlines your key goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. You should also outline the resources you currently have available, and an idea of your finances and projections.
Make sure you understand what the opportunities the grant will offer you, and how exactly you’ll use those opportunities and resources to facilitate the growth of your business.
You might consider using a grant writer to help shape your application for success. Grant writers can take care of the entire application process, for a fee, but you should always involve yourself in the process and ensure your grant writer fully understands your business and your goals.
Federal grants for women in business
Grants.gov provides a comprehensive database of federally sponsored business grants, which you’re able to filter by eligibility terms to find those tailored for women and small businesses. To apply for a U.S. government grant, your business must already be registered with an account set up on the System for Award Management (SAM), and you must obtain a DUNS identification number.
Government grants for women owned businesses are a great option, but they are extremely competitive, so you may have better luck looking at state-level or private grants, like those listed below:
The Girlboss Foundation
The Girlboss Foundation was established by entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso in 2014. It offers small business grants twice a year to women entrepreneurs in fashion, design, music, and the arts. Business owners can receive $15,000 from the Girlboss Foundation, with candidates assessed on not only business acumen and financial need, but also their innovation and creativity.
While no grants were distributed in 2020 amidst the global pandemic, applications for the Girlboss Foundation grant are expected to return soon.
The Amber Grant Foundation was founded by WomensNet in 1998 to honor young entrepreneur Amber Wigdahl, who passed away at age 19. The Amber Grant Foundation gives out a $10,000 grant to an entrepreneur every month, but that’s not all. The WomensNet Year End Grant offers $25,000 to one of the monthly grant recipients of that year. Monthly $5,000 grants for women are given on a business-specific basis, special marketing grants worth $3,500 are given monthly, and a number of Mini Grants are awarded throughout the year, ranging between $500 and $2,000.
You just need to fill out a single application form and pay an application fee of $15 to be eligible for all business grants for women offered by the Amber Grant Foundation. Your business must be at least 50% women-owned to be considered eligible.
The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant awards up to $200,000 in total to up to 10 women business owners annually – with a maximum of $40,000 available to each recipient per year. The grant is offered to women in business who own at least 51% of a business that has been in operation for less than 3 years and has less than $1 million in annual revenue. The Eileen Fisher grant is designed specifically for nonprofit businesses or businesses with a fiscal sponsor that are focused on environmental or social change.
Recipients of the Eileen Fisher grant must demonstrate a commitment to increasing women’s participation in decision making, training women and girls in climate change mitigation and advocacy, and engaging women in the sustainable economy.
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