Grants help small businesses receive the funding they need to grow. In a way, grants are a way for the government to tell entrepreneurs and new businesses that they support progress and are willing to help to some extent with finances. Small businesses also require this initial corpus to build a sound foundation for the future of the company.
Today, quite a few women are coming forward with their own small businesses, making a mark in society. Especially for the businesses headed by such women, the federal and state governments have dedicated grant programs in place. Let’s take a look at the business grants for women that can be availed of today by getting to know the following:
- Where to Look for Business Grants for Women?
- Specific Business Grants for Women to Apply for
- Handy Tips for Writing Grant Applications
Where to Look for Business Grants for Women?
Listed below are some reliable, trustworthy private and public institutions that arrange for business grants for women. If you are a woman and searching for grants to assist your business strategies, these are a few places you can search first.
This is an online database that consists of a list of all the grants that are active right now. It is perhaps the best place to look for federal business grants for women that can be applied to at this very moment. With that said, there are certain things you need to have ready by your side prior to initiating an application:
- You need to have your D-U-N-S number (Data Universal Number System) ready in order to apply for a grant here. If you don’t have it already, you can apply for it online
- You need to furnish your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or SSN (Social Security Number) to apply for the grant
- You can then begin the registration process on the System for Award Management
The SBA (Small Business Administration of the USA)
The sole purpose that the Small Business Administration was instituted was to help small and budding businesses to grow. The primary method of providing assistance to entrepreneurs is monetary support through grants.
This is the next best place to look for business grants for women by the federal government that are active right now. Their website has a dedicated page for active grants, where you can navigate to and search for one that your business can apply to. They also provide loans to small businesses that are specifically low-interest to help improve their access to funding in the initial period.
WBCs (Women’s Business Centres)
Women’s Business Centres are special initiatives of the Small Business Administration to support equal opportunity for women in business. These business centers are scattered over the entire United States territory with the singular view of assisting women in their ventures. They arrange business grants for women in addition to arranging low-cost training curricula and advisory support for women who wish to manifest their ambitions through business. They also help women launch their businesses and make them competition-ready.
Women’s Business Centres are a great way of searching for any active grants or courses available to your business right now.
Although this isn’t exactly a “grant” system per se, Challenge.gov does give you an opportunity to win substantial monetary prizes that could help you fulfill some of the business expenses. By way of various competitions, Challenge.gov invites various businesses to participate in real challenges that directly concern the city, and craft worthy solutions to win the prize. Not the first place you should look for business grants for women, it definitely is a resource for some good monetary support should all the other options run out for you.
You can keep visiting the website to keep a track of active challenges to see if there is anything that your business can participate in.
This website is a great place to search for all business grants for women in a single place – whether federal, state, private or public. The website is dedicated to assisting women in rising above the professional discrimination they face like underpayment, harassment, underestimation, etc.
The website has an extensive database that lists all possible sources of business funding for women in alphabetical order. It also provides a guide on how to apply for grants, including showing opportunities for scholarships you can apply to. You can simply navigate to their website and start searching for business grants for women.
Small Business Grants for Women to Look for
Most of the grants mentioned in the list below are meant specifically for the for-profit businesses run by women. However, while they may also be available for small businesses, a few of these grants target non-profit organizations. Let’s take a look.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative
The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an extensive grants program consisting of two types of grants:
- Seven grants each worth $100,000, for the top seven laureates – the women entrepreneurs that head fast-growing businesses
- 14 grants each worth $30,000, for the 14 finalists – the second and third runners-up from the competing regions
It is an extremely competitive grant to apply for, but promising also. The Cartier Women’s Initiative also provides Human and Social Capital support. There are extensive eligibility criteria that you may need to check on their website.
The Tory Burch Foundation’s Fellows Program
The Tory Burch Foundation hosts an annual Fellows Program wherein women entrepreneurs get access to:
- Opportunities that help their businesses grow and scale
- Expert instructor workshops
- Opportunity to develop networks
- Capital access
- Grants for business education
The Fellow Program works by inviting applications for a year-long fellowship that includes valuable lessons in growing a business, developing a network, a trip to Tory Burch offices in New York, and many more highlights apart from a grant of $5,000. 50 applications are selected from among the ones received to be a part of this Fellow Program.
The Amber Grant for Women
This is a very special grant program that is active all year round and every month. They have a series of grants that are active every single month of the year, giving away $30,000 at the minimum as assistance to businesses run by women. There is also the annual grant to the tune of $25,000 at the end of the year. If you are looking for business grants for women, this is the best place you should look at first. They have recently expanded to cover business grants for women in marketing as well.
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
This business grant for women started off with a purpose to assist women in bringing about a social change in the traditional business setup of the country, by helping them build their own businesses through monetary support. They also work by way of grant partners; in 2021, they invested a sum of $251,900 in their grant partners to help women drive economic empowerment.
They also have their focus on helping women of color break the barriers and achieve success in business. They have over 300 active programs that receive around $4 million in funding towards creating impactful change for women in society.
The Boston Women’s Fund
The Boston Women’s Fund is a highly inclusive initiative that recognizes genderfluid, nonbinary transwomen and other peoples, including women and girls, to provide them with grants and equal opportunity to grow through movement building and systems change.
They have invested about $6.8 million as of today in this underprivileged, discriminated sect of community and is working with 347 grantee partners. This is a great resource to seek business grants for women. Their website enlists everything necessary to apply for a grant with them.
The Chicago Foundation for Women Grants
This grant is a very specific grant that provides monetary support in the sectors of health, freedom from violence, and economic security for women. The business grants for women that they provide require that the business be functional within the area of Chicago metropolis, specifically the counties of Will, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Cook.
The funding amount can range anywhere from $15,000 to $150,000. This foundation takes its grants seriously and requires that the applicants follow certain guidelines while applying.
Handy Tips for Writing Grant Applications
It isn’t efficient to apply for grants left and right without putting some thought into it. More often than not, there is a detailed selection process that each application goes through – this makes it necessary to write a convincing application while applying for the grant. Let’s see a few tips.
Choose The Right Grant
Pick a grant that makes sense for your business, and that your business has a high chance of nailing. Acquiring monetary assistance isn’t a walk in the park if thorough research isn’t done prior. If your business runs on technology that leaves a high carbon footprint, applying for a sustainability grant would make no sense.
Plan Your Business
Grants are often needed to launch a business, that is when a business hasn’t yet come into existence formally. Make sure the grant you are applying for sees the value proposition that makes it decide to invest in you.
Hire a Professional Grant Writer
Rather than shooting arrows in the dark and missing, hire somebody who knows how the gears turn. Hiring a professional grant writer will help you draft an application that isn’t just convincing, but also one that gets everything right.
The world is changing into a place that is friendlier for women, and these grants ensure that women+ and girls+ get an opportunity at entrepreneurship that isn't laced with discrimination.
Women face the flak of the world through discrimination, underestimation, underpayment, and in a lot of other ways. In order to change that, certain grants exist that only women entrepreneurs are entitled to take advantage of to grow and make a difference in the world through their businesses, initiatives, and movements. Some such grants are:
- The Boston Women’s Fund
- The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
- The Cartier Women’s Initiative
...and many more. It is best to search for the grants that best apply to your business in terms of industry, operation, context, and objectives to ensure that there is a high probability of getting selected for it.