Small Business

13 Small Business Grants for Women

Business women smiling

In a world where businesses owned by women receive a mere 7% of venture capital, grants are critical source of business funding for female founders and entrepreneurs. If you’re a woman in business, here are 13 different small business grants you should consider applying for.

Getting a small business going is hard work. It can be even harder if you’re a woman. For many women trying to make their way in the business world, finding money is often easier said than done. Women have a hard time securing funding, often much more difficult than men. Businesses owned by women get a paltry seven percent of the money from venture capital investors, and loan approval rates aren’t much better. As a result, many women are not confident that they’ll be able to find the money necessary to keep their businesses going. It’s time to change the rules of the game.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways for women to find the funding they need. A key source of funding for many women comes in the form of grants. Lots of people don’t realize that there are all kinds of grants out there for people willing to work hard and apply for them! It’s not unlike a college scholarship. The money is there for you, but you have to seek it out and ask for it!

In many ways, grants can be even better than traditional bank loans. This is because they’re essentially free money! Of course, with plenty of small businesses and even more starting every day, competition for these grants is understandably fierce. Here are 13 different small business grants for women that you should consider applying for.

1. Open Meadows Foundation

Are you a female entrepreneur that’s passionate about a cause and wants to make a difference? The Open Meadows Foundation might be perfect for you. The organization offers grants for projects backed by women promoting economic, gender, and racial justice. These grants are tailored for projects with $75,000 or less in their budget, which makes them perfect for early-stage start-ups. Interested women are encouraged to apply for the $2,000 grant online.

2. FedEx Small Business Grant

The FedEx Small Business Grant is available to both women entrepreneurs and women small business owners. The yearly grant is awarded to 10 different women. The winner of the grand prize gets $25,000, but that’s not all. They’re also going to receive $7,500 in FedEx services. This can go a long way to cutting down on overhead expenses. Another winner will receive $15,000 and $5,000 in FedEx services, while the remaining eight winners get $7,500 and an additional $1,000 for FedEx services.

3. Girlboss Foundation Grant

This one goes out to all the boss girls out there! The Girlboss Foundation Grant was founded by the original Nasty Gal herself, Sophia Amoruso, back in 2014. Female entrepreneurs focusing on creative businesses are encouraged to apply. The grant is awarded twice a year to women entrepreneurs working in music, fashion, design, and the arts. Grant recipients get $15,000 toward their business and added exposure on the Girlboss platform.

4. Cartier Women's Initiative Award

That’s right, this is that Cartier. As in, the legendary jewelry brand. But Cartier does much more than create stunning jewelry and watches. The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is given out once a year to 21 women entrepreneurs. Seven of the top finalists will be awarded $100,000 while the other 14 will receive $30,000 each. All finalists will get personalized business and financial coaching along with workshops and networking sessions to help them build their skills as leaders.

5. Amber Grant

The Amber Grant provides 12 opportunities a year for women entrepreneurs to fund their dreams. The foundation was started in 1998 to honor the legacy of Amber, who passed at the age of 19 without realizing her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Every month, a different project is selected for a $2,000 grant. Each of these businesses is then eligible to potentially receive the $25,000 annual grant. The application fee is a reasonable $15 and women can easily apply online each month.

6. National Association for the Self-Employed

We have so much respect for women that want to be their own bosses. Entrepreneurs are go-getters that don’t rely on anyone else when it comes to getting a paycheck. That’s why this grant for self-employed women is so important. The National Association for the Self-Employed is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to helping small businesses. Every month, they award $4,000 in growth grants that your business can use for all kinds of expenses. Take charge of your life and get a little help with getting your business going with this grant.

7. The Halstead Grant

This grant for female entrepreneurs in the jewelry industry has been around for 13 years. The grant is designed for businesses that are less than three years old. That makes it perfect for startups! Winners get a $7,500 grant and another $1,000 they can use on Halstead supplies. Even better, all applicants still receive advice on their business plan so they can continue to develop as entrepreneurs.

8. Grants.gov

If you’re looking for a government grant, this is one of the first places you should go. This database of federal grants has just about everything you can think of. That includes grants specifically made for small businesses. To register, get yourself a DUNS number (which you can get for free online) and register to work with the U.S. government.

9. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Eileen Fisher is probably best known for her contributions to the world of fashion, but did you know about her passionate support of women-owned businesses? Every year, the company gives out 10 grants to women-owned businesses that have moved past the startup stage. With a maximum of $10,000 per grant, that means Eileen Fisher is giving out $100,000 in total grants. Applicants aren’t required to work in a specific field, they just have to be women-owned businesses working to make a difference. You can find out more about the guidelines for the Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant and submit your application online.

10. IdeaCafe Grant

IdeaCafe has been a valuable online hub for entrepreneurs and small business owners since 1995. Every year, IdeaCafe gives out a $1,000 micro-grant to a deserving small business owner. This grant is available to everyone and can be a great launching pad for entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business.

11. Women's Business Centers

Women’s Business Centers are an incredible resource for female entrepreneurs across the United States. With almost 100 centers located throughout the country, these SBA-sponsored organizations help women with both finding small business loans and grants and lending money themselves. Be sure to find a Women’s Business Center near you and make use of all of your available resources.

12. Local Grants in Your Area

It’s important to remember the grants available right in your own backyard. There are all kinds of grants offered by local and state organizations along with other valuable resources. Be sure to talk to banks and other institutions near you to learn what might be around. You could be surprised by what you find!

13. SBA Loans and Online Invoice Factoring

While these aren’t necessarily small business grants for women, they can still provide valuable sources of funding for startups looking to get an influx of cash while getting their businesses off the ground. SBA (Small Business Administration) Loans are specifically developed for small businesses of all shapes and sizes.

For those that are having a difficult time qualifying for an SBA Loan or don’t have time to wait for grants to become available, there are still plenty of alternative financing options around. Women entrepreneurs can get funding through online invoice financing in as little as 24 hours. Learn more about how online invoice financing can provide a valuable lifeline for your business. Take charge of your business and get the funding you need today.