Starting a company can be a challenge, to begin with, and what’s even more daunting is raising funds, which determines a company’s success. According to a recent survey, women-owned above 40% of all businesses in the United States in the year 2019, however, what’s astonishing is that among this percentage around 98% of the funding from Venture Capital (VC) firms was given to those startups that were founded by men.
Business owners who are women sometimes struggle to qualify their businesses for business loans at a disproportionate rate, in comparison with their male counterparts. Since fetching business loans and equity shares could sometimes be a painstaking task, there are several business grants that are specially designed to help out women entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the most famous business grants for women.
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Grants.gov is one of the most popular grants. Established in 2002, the Grants program was designed as a part of the President’s Management Agenda. The Grant is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The main purpose of starting this grant was to be able to deliver a system that is capable of providing a centralized location for those seeking grants so that they can find proper federal funding opportunities.
As of now, they are supporting about 1,000 grant programs, and the biggest advantage of associating with this grant is to be aware of more available opportunities, easily interacting with the federal government, and providing a reliable and safe way to fetch federal grants.
If you check out their website, you will see that on their website is listed a series of grants that the federal government is sponsoring. All you would need to do is be on the lookout for those grants that are specially designed for women and ones those are suitable for your business.
How to apply for Grants.gov
In order to apply for the Grants.gov grant, you will need to sign up for a Grants.gov Workspace account. When you get there, you or any other member of your team will be able to edit and finish your grant application which is made available via the database.
But, one thing to keep in mind before you apply for grants is making sure that your business is eligible for the grant opportunities. You can also find all detailed information about eligibility criteria on the website.
2. The Girlboss Foundation Grant
A community of strong, curious and ambitious women, Girlboss aims to educate, entertain and inspire other women through influential content and the different kinds of experiences they have while running a business. Their website mentions them to be unapologetic in their beliefs and they value women who are dreamers – both long term and short term.
This is a type of grant which is specially targeted toward female entrepreneurs who are creative. This is a semi-annual grant that is exclusively designed for businesses that are owned by women and those that operate in arts, design, music or fashion. The Girlboss Foundation provides $15,000 grants to organizations.
How to apply for GirlBoss?
All you would need to do is log in to Girlboss.com, and learn about the procedure. The Girlboss foundation gives grants to women entrepreneurs who are creative, bi-annually, and they give out $130,000 in grants ever since the organization started in 2014.
3. Amber Grant
Amber Grant is a unique grant that was founded by WomensNet, and the grant was set up to honor the memory of Amber Wigdahl, who was a very special woman, one who died at the early age of 19, before she could even realize what her business dreams were. WomensNet has been faithfully carrying out this tradition and they give away at least $30,000 every month in Amber Grant money.
Besides recognizing different genres of business, WomensNet has expanded their grants under several categories like “Marketing Grants”, and “Business Category Grants”, and along with this comes two $25,000 Year End Grants as well. Here’s where you can have a look at all the grants.
How to apply to Amber Grant?
You would need to submit your application to apply for this grant online on the website. When you do so, you will be notified of all the grants that you are your business can achieve as per your eligibility. Usually, after reviewing all the applications, the organization announces its monthly winners by the 23rd of the next month.
Operational since the year 2000, GrantsforWomen.org has been a trusted online program and tool for women worldwide, especially those who are on the lookout for scholarships and grants. They are a premium organization who caters to women and girls of varying ages, providing assistance to several nations, but they are majorly active in the nations of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and South Africa.
They are committed to empowering, educating and helping women reach their goals, and in a way that is quick and convenient for them. Their database is quite a robust one where they are well researched and are absolutely free of various scams and fraudulent activities.
They value simplicity and also encourage others to do so.
How to apply for GrantsForWomen.org?
Sure, you will need to be patient while you are applying for this grant, as you might have to fill up quite a number of forms, ensure their timely submission and then wait to hear back. One of the things to keep in mind while applying is to follow their guidelines, maybe even taking the help of grant writers and see how you are eligible based on your gender, age, citizenship status, financial requirements, and education. You can fetch more information here.
5. The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant is one that is an annual award for upcoming silver jewellery artists. This foundation treats the occupation of jewellery to be a very serious one and aims to support all jewellery entrepreneurs who indulge in making quality stuff and provide good service. The jewellery industry is hugely dependent on the continuous incoming of new talent who value creativity.
The foundation holds the view that the new artists in this field must be able to hone their business skills so that they are capable enough to manage their businesses in this highly competitive market. Talking of the grants, the grand prize comprises a $7,500 startup grant and a 1,000 in mechandize, along with a recognition in the jewellery industry. also avail of other benefits.
How to apply for Halstead Grant?
For availing of this grant, you can apply online by visiting their website. Once you log in to your website you will see that there are 15 questions that you will have to fill up and answer, and when you complete answering them, you need to send in your application and design portfolio images within their stipulated deadline.
6. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
An annual and international program, the Cartier Women’s Initiative looks forward to drive change by empowering women entrepreneurs who are capable of making an impact. They were founded in 2006 and are open to women-run and women-owned businesses across the globe and from any sector that is capable of having a strong and sustainable social or environmental impact. This award is especially applicable for women-led businesses which are inclusive of the following:
- Awards across 10 regions: In total, there are three awards that are granted per region, making it a total of 30 grant awards. The organization securing first place receives around $100,000, the second organization gets $60,000, and the third awardee gets $30,000.
- Science and Technology Pioneer Award: The amounts for this award are the same as the regional awards, and the area here is based on science and technology.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: The award amounts for this award are not disclosed yet, but there are myriad options available here as well.
How to apply for Cartier’s Women’s Initiative?
You would need to download the application for the Cartier Women’s Initiative regional awards online. All you need to do to get started is showcase the fact that your business is being owned or run by women, and you also have to add that your business is supposed to have a meaningful and sustainable impact on society or the environment.
You must also keep the following in mind while applying for the grant:
– Own or run profit businesses
– Be in operation within one to five years (an early stage organization)
– Showcase that your business has been earning revenue from goods and services at least for the last one year
– Have at least raised $2 million in funding minimum
– Have met at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
7. Eileen Fisher Women-owned Business Grant
The Eileen Fisher organization is a women’s clothing brand that was established around three decades back. It awards around $200,000 in grant funding every year to capable women-owned businesses. The grant sizes under this award range from $10,000 to $40,000.
Women entrepreneurs who are involved in some way or the other in the below area may be considered eligible for grant funding:
- Those that are helping women to participate in decision-making processes, and those that yield positive environmental results
- Those that promote the participation of females in a sustainable economy
- Those businesses that teach women and young girls to adapt to climate change and also teach them how to influence the current climate change policies for the betterment of the society
How to apply for Eileen Fisher Organization?
Actually, this program is on hold temporarily, and you can get to access the website online after the services are available. Also, you need to keep in mind that in order to be successful, your business must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is registered with the IRS, or it must have a fiscal sponsor, and you must be able to prove that your business provides direct services to your customers. After this, you would need to complete your applications and any follow-up interviews thereafter in English.
Also, note that those businesses that have collaborations with different political parties or religions are not eligible for this grant. Adding to this list are academic institutions, capital campaigns, event sponsorships or organizations that are not run by women.
8. Tory Burch Foundation
A popular fashion brand that sponsors grants for women entrepreneurs, the foundation provides $5,000 in business education grants, and it also looks forward to promoting women-owned businesses that are still in their early stages.
The foundation helps these businesses through access to business capital, expert-led workshops, and peer-to-peer networks. Then, there is the Women of Color Grant Program which is available to business owners that are women business owners of color. Those businesses that are eligible might receive grants that are valued between $10,000 and $20,000 via this program.
How to apply
Under this grant, the foundation chooses around 50 women entrepreneurs from the number of applications they receive, and later they become Fellows in its annual program. For a person to be eligible for this grant, you will need to be a woman and one who owns at least 51% of her business. You will get all the information about how to apply for this grant online.
9. SoGal Startup Grant
A program that is specifically designed to help black women entrepreneurs, the SoGal Startup Grant has gained immense popularity now. According to their website the SoGal foundation is the largest global platform – one that is exclusively designed for entrepreneurs and investors from diverse backgrounds. As of now, they are present in over 6 continents, and their mission is to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (VC).
The foundation was started in 2015 with a sole idea of redefining the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and investors. They exist to challenge the status quo and to be able to get more women own up to their ideas, narratives, goals, missions and futures.
The winners of this grant get a cash award of either $5,000 or $10,000 in startup funding. In addition to this, they also get access to a lot of professional guidance that helps in the fundraising process. Using this, businesses can scale accordingly.
How to apply
In order to apply for the SoGal program, a business needs to identify itself as a Black woman or a non-binary entrepreneur, which is inclusive of multiracial Black women and multiracial Black non-binary folks. In addition to this, your business must be registered legally, and it must also be able to demonstrate a plan that aims to ask for investor capital, which proves that it has plans to scale in the near future, and also share a business idea which has the potential to scale to a billion-dollar business.
If you require any additional information, you can get it here.
10. FedEx Small Business Grant
In order to support small businesses, especially those that were being affected by the novel pandemic in 2020, FedEx designed the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. According to this scheme, the recipients of this grant get checks that are worth $50,000, and additional credits up to $7,500 that can be used at the FedEx office for business printing services.
They have been operational since 2012, and the Small Business Grant Contest has awarded more than $1.5million in cash and several rewards to more than a hundred small businesses. This contest encourages unique and innovative small businesses and has seen more than 50,000 entrants, and 18,000 already this year in 2022.
How to apply
In order to apply for this grant, all the applicants must be based in the US and they must be small businesses earning under $5 million in their annual sales, and all the goods that have been shipped in the preceding 12-month period.
Those businesses that can be eligible must create a FedEx account, and apply accordingly.
11. SBA Grant
The Small Business Administration (SBA) came into existence in the year 1953, one which operated as an independent agency of the federal government that will come to aid, counsel, assist and also protect the interests of small businesses so that businesses can operate freely, and the overall economy is also strengthened.
Through this grant small businesses are being encouraged to expand their technical expertise and also provides the incentive so that businesses can gain profit from their commercialization. Over the days, the SBA has been inclusive of those businesses that are qualified in the United States’ Research and Development (R&D) area, they specifically endorse entrepreneurs and small business as that is where all the innovation comes from.
How to apply
There are several types of funding programs that are available under this program. Beginning with loans, investment capital, disaster assistance, surety bonds and grants. The grants under this umbrella are manifold too, and they appear in the forms of COVID-19 relief programs, exporting grants for state entities, and Small business grant programs. You can get more information about each of them here.
Apart from grants, there are other ways in which women-owned businesses can get funding, that can support their goals, like small business loans, business line of credit, business credit cards, equity financing, crowdfunding, business acquisition loans, and SBA loans.
Also, it is very important to choose the right kind of grant for your business. Please note that are two kinds of grants that are available to small business owners, and they are the government and corporate grants. Most people opt for the corporate grant, as they come with easy requirements which can be met without much effort, but there might be stiff competition from other applicants as well.
The government grants and their application process could get really monotonous and time taking, but if it suits your business, then you must definitely go for it. No matter what kind of grant you apply for, you must always bear in mind that you meet their required eligibility criteria, no one wants to waste time unnecessarily, and there is absolutely no point in applying for grants that add absolutely no value to your business. Instead, you can use your time and energy in searching for grants that are available for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What type of grant should I opt for?
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, you must always opt for a grant which suits your business needs the most, and the best way to avoid any hassle is to check the eligibility criteria on the web.
- Is getting grants a painstaking process?
Well, actually that depends on the kind of grant that you want to avail yourself of. Yes, government grants could get a little tedious, but in the end, it is for your own benefit.
- Why are grants required at all?
The biggest advantage of availing of a grant is that businesses have can access funds, and as a business, you do not have to go through the unnecessary hassle of running behind investors to get funding for your business.