Small Business Development Centers
Small business development centers offer free business consulting, training and help in get funding for your business. Sponsored by the SBA, these centers help entrepreneurs find assistance and counseling in their area.
Some SBDCs offer targeted services and tools for women, minorities and veterans. For instance, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers offer targeted services for women, including grants, funding options and training opportunities.
Coalition To Back Black Businesses
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year initiative co-founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with nine businesses and organizations. Over four years, it will provide a total of more than $14 million in grants, training, and resources to empower Black-owned small businesses. The annual program accepts applications for its $5,000 grants each fall. A select few applicants will also receive $25,000 enhancement grants the following summer.
To qualify, businesses must:
- Meet the criteria for being a Black-owned enterprise in a qualifying industry.
- Employ between three and 20 people .
- Be located in an economically vulnerable community, according to the Distressed Communities Index.
- Have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Black Mba Associations Scale
The National Black MBA Association launched its Scale-up Pitch Challenge in 2017 to help startups connect with early-stage investors and venture capitalists. Applicants first pitch their business ideas to the judges, then three finalists compete live in Atlanta for the chance to win the $50,000 grand prize. Additional prizes include a $10,000 second-place prize, a $7,500 third-place prize, and a $1,000 Peoples Choice Award.
Applications for the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge are currently open. To be eligible, teams must:
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Small Business Grants For Women: Additional Options
Grants represent a viable form of free funding for select, exceptionally talented women business owners. If you can present an especially impressive application, essay, business plan, and in some cases an in-person pitch, you might come away with some free cash to help bring your entrepreneurial dreams to fruition.
However, such grants are highly competitive, and in most cases, even if you win a prized spot, you wont receive a large amount of capital. Some select grants are available to small businesses in general, including grants for startup businesses, but these grant programs are similarly competitive. Generally, there just isnt a lot of grant money to be had for for-profit businesses.
If you are looking at grants for women business owners because you dont qualify for a business loan, you might consider a business credit card that can cover some of your expenses. There are even business credit cards for bad credit and business credit cards for startups.
In the long run, improving your personal and business credit scores can help your woman-owned small business qualify for financing. Be sure to check out our blog post on how to improve your business credit score.
Small Business Grants Can Be An Alternate Source Of Funding
A lack of financing is one of the greatest obstacles to starting or expanding a small business. Even when presented with a clear vision and a solid business plan, financial institutions are often reluctant to lend to small businesses because they lack a track record. By virtue of their lower credit scores and business age on average, women-owned businesses face even bigger barriers to financing than men: They’re approved for funding at a lower rate and smaller amount, according to a 2019 Biz2Credit survey. The average funding amount for women-owned businesses in 2019 was $40,513 compared to $69,596 for non-women-owned businessesa difference of 41%.
Fortunately, there are many organizations that offer women-owned businesses grants, which represent free money you don’t have to repay. Learn how to write effective grant applications and identify sources of small business grants to boost your odds of getting one for your women-owned business.
In 2019, women-owned businesses had an average credit score of 590, which was 23 points lower than that of non-women-owned businesses. Lackluster credit can be an obstacle when getting loans but not grants, which don’t have to be repaid.
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Is It Easier For A Woman To Get A Business Loan
No, women have historically had a harder time getting a business loan, as they are less likely to be approved for financing than men. And when women are approved for business loans, they receive smaller loans than men .
For example, the average PPP loan approved for women-owned businesses was $41,304, which is 47% less than for businesses owned by men , according to this Biz2Credit Annual Women-Owned Business Study 2022.
Sage Invest In Progress Grant
Sage a leading provider of integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems and the BOSS Network, an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women, have partnered to launch the Invest in Progress Grant. Through this program, Black women entrepreneurs receive annual grants of $10,000 each. Winners also get a year of membership to BOSS University, an online program that helps Black women successfully start and grow businesses. The three-year grant program will give out a total of $1.5 million.
To qualify for this grant, you must:
- Be an entrepreneur who identifies as a Black woman.
- Be the founder of a for-profit business established in the last five years.
- Have a demonstrated need for funds.
- Be willing to participate in a virtual business mentoring program.
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One Meadows Foundation Grants
If your business is focused on social change or you have an idea to incorporate activism and female empowerment in your business, you can apply for the One Meadows Foundation Grant. They provide awards up to $2,000 for non-profit projects that are both created and run by women and give back to the community. These grants are targeted at female entrepreneurs who have limited financial resources and have a total organizational budget of $75,000 or less, with a preference for start-ups and small businesses.
Small Business Loans For Women: What Are My Options
Small business loans typically fall into one of four categories:
- Bank and credit union small business loans
- Business loans from online lenders
Determining which option is best for your business depends on several factors including but not limited to credit rating, financial profile, financing needs and overall business goals.
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Find A Grant To Jumpstart Your Small Business Today
The number of women-led businesses in the U.S. still lags behind many other developed countries. Female entrepreneurs often have to work harder with fewer resources than men to make their dream come to life. But if you qualify for one of the many grants intended to boost women-led small businesses and startups, you can hit the ground running to give yourself the best chance for success.
If you need help with any portion of forming your business in advance of applying for grants call on ZenBusiness for assistance. Our customizable plans, services, and resources can see you through the mountains of paperwork associated with launching your woman-owned small business.
The Latest Small Business Grants For Women And Minority Entrepreneurs
Despite progress in recent years, women and minorities still face barriers to entry in the business world. Specifically, these entrepreneurs are generally less likely to get funding from traditional sources. However, there are small business grants that aim to address these discrepancies. Here are several opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs to consider.
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Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program Grants
Every year, the Tory Burch Foundation selects 50 women as Foundation Fellows, where they participate in professional development and networking opportunities. Fellows receive a $5,000 grant to pursue their business education and have the opportunity to present their business to investors at a sponsored Pitch Day event. Women who own and operate for-profit businesses that generated more than $75,000 in the past year are eligible to apply. It is free to apply on their website.
Alternatives To Business Grants
There are a number of alternatives to business grants to help launch or grow a woman-owned business, particularly in the form of small business loans for women. Unlike grants, business loans must be repaid in full, including interest. Some may involve additional fees as well.
The below options arent limited just to women, but you may find them particularly useful as a woman business owner:
Online business loans: An online business loan is ideal to apply for when you need cash quickly for your business. There typically arent restrictions on how you can use the funds. Loan terms range from 15 years and, depending on your business, can go as high as $2 million. Lenders review your credit score, time in business, collateral, and financial statements.
SBA loans:SBA loans are backed by the federal government, although you still apply directly through a private lender. There are many different types of SBA loans depending on your needs. Two of the most popular options include:
- SBA 7 loans: These have a broad use, such as purchasing land, paying for construction, buying or expanding a business, refinancing debt, or operating expenses.
- SBA 504 loans: These are used for buying property, like real estate, machinery, or land, or for renovating an existing property.
Startup business loans: Startup business loans are used to help launch a business in its early stages. You may need some revenue under your belt in order to qualifybut its still possible for early companies to qualify.
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Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Program
STTR has a similar mission to SBIR but is only available through five federal agencies and prioritizes funding for businesses focusing on the transfer of technology from institutions to small businesses and the marketplace.
Grant amounts and eligibility and application requirements are generally the same as those of SBIR, but the small business must also partner with a research institution. The partnering institution must be a U.S.-based nonprofit college or university, domestic nonprofit research organization, or federally funded R& D center. The business must perform at least 40% of the R& D, and the research institution must take on at least 30% of the effort however, the principal investigator at the business can be primarily employed by the nonprofit.
How Next Insurance Helps Small Businesses
NEXT Insurance is 100% dedicated to helping small businesses thrive. We offer customized business insurance designed to protect you from the risks you face every day.
It takes about 10 minutes to apply online, purchase coverage, and secure your certificate of insurance.
Our licensed, U.S.-based insurance advisors are standing by to help if you have insurance questions.
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What Can You Use Small Business Grants For
Owning your own business means that you have various expenses that need to be paid. Some grants allow you to use the funds for any business-related expenses, while others may have more specific parameters. Grants can help with marketing and advertising, contracting help in customer service, or purchasing much needed equipment or materials. However,its always best to read the rules and regulations before applying to make sure you can use the money for what you need.
Ifundwomen Small Business Grant
The IFundWomen Universal Grant program brings together hundreds of organizations that fund women-owned businesses. You can look at their site and pick a grant or apply directly to IFundWomen, which also gives grants.
To get on their database, you need to fill out a form. It should take you about 20 minutes. You will have to give a written pitch, so write that out in advance so you can just copy and paste it when you are ready to fill out the form.
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Fedex Small Business Grant Contest
Global shipping company FedEx has a small business grant program. It awards ten U.S-based businesses with grants up to $50,000 and up to $4,000 in FedEx Office print and business services. Three businesses receive the grand prize of $50,000, and seven first-place winners get $20,000 for a prize pool totaling over $300,000.
Additionally, FedEx offers additional $10,000 grants and FedEx credits to the ten winners in the following categories: young entrepreneur, sustainability-focused, healthcare, veteran-owned and minority-owned.
FedEx will select the Top 100 finalists out of the thousands of applicants. Winners are decided by both public vote and FedEx judging. All Top 100 participants will also receive prizes, including partner consultations, access to a Small Business National Conference, educational resources and mentor matching with SCORE.
What Are The Requirements To Get A Business Grant
Specific applicant requirements vary from grant program to grant program. But while grants often have very specific requirements , those criteria usually have more to do with what kind of business you have.
For example, you may need a nonprofit business that tackles environmental issues, or a grant program may only accept for-profit businesses in fashion.
Grants usually dont require you to have a certain personal credit score or make hundreds of thousands in revenue like many business loans would. That makes them more accessible than other types of business financing.
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Avoid Using Personal Credit Cards For Funding
Most entrepreneurs in America are solopreneurs, meaning they are their companys only employee or member. The US Small Business Administration calls these entities nonemployer firms, and says they account for 81% of all businesses in the United States. It may feel tempting to commingle business and personal bank accounts for the sake of convenience, but financial planners and current business owners alike say cutting money corners now can lead to trouble down the road.
It is easy to get lost in the cash flow side of the business, especially when you are in investing mode, says Madeleine Park, Chief Marketing Officer of Threshold Brands, a franchise purchasing firm. Having a clear idea about your finances will allow you to invest where needed but ensure that the business stays profitable and growing at a steady rate.
Floating expenses on personal cards defeats the purpose of having a limited liability company or business formation in the first place, which is to protect your personal financial assets in the event of business failure. No one starts a business expecting to fail, but the reality is that many do: 18.4% fail in the first year, and 49.7% have failed after five years, based on a LendingTree analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2021.
Ms Foundation For Women Small Business Grant
The Ms. Foundation for Women supports businesses that advance reproductive health, promote affordable child care and prevent domestic violence. Along with funds, it gives training, mentorships and other support for women entrepreneurs.
The only applications they process are the ones sent when they solicit applications. If you visit the website regularly, you will see when applications are requested.
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Additional Resources For Women Entrepreneurs
Keep reading to explore other financial resources that can be helpful for female entrepreneurs.
- The Office of Womens Business Ownership operates roughly 130 business centers throughout the United States. Designed to connect female business owners with federal contracting opportunities, they also offer business training and counseling as well as help getting access to credit and working capital.
- The National Association of Women Business Owners is an advocacy group for women in business. This organization offers training and resources related to becoming a certified women-owned business, getting government contracts, and securing access to capital.
- The National Womens Business Council is an advisory group to government agencies that also provides resources for female entrepreneurs. It provides information on finding capital, growing supply chains, and increasing your brands visibility.
For a complete list of resources for female entrepreneurs, check out our National Resources for Female Entrepreneurs. It includes links to grants, networking, inspirational, and educational resources that can be just as valuable than a loan.
Grant Programs For Black Women Entrepreneurs
For small businesses that are still working on building their credit or upping their cash flow, grants can provide a valuable influx of free money. Grants can either supplement business loans or provide a standalone source of funds. Unlike loans, grants never have to be repaid. For that reason, they can prove especially critical for up-and-coming Black women entrepreneurs who dont yet qualify for traditional small business loans or attract venture capital funding.
Here are some of the best grant opportunities that cater to Black women entrepreneurs. Many are available to businesses at all stages of growth, and most dont require application fees or a finished business plan to apply.
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Aapi National Ace Grants
National ACE, an organization that supports Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses, runs a series of grant programs with partners around the country. Typically, grants range from $10,000 to $25,000 and support businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. The application period has closed for this round of funding. But this is an ongoing program. So check the website or sign up for alerts to learn about future opportunities.
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Business Grants For Women Entrepreneurs & 7 Places To Find More
Need money to grow your business? Learn about 18 available grants for funding women-owned businesses and where to apply.
The number of women-owned businesses is skyrocketing, and that number is expected to continue to grow. According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, in the period from 2014 to 2019, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 21% for a grand total of nearly 13 million, with revenue also rising 21% and totaling $1.9 trillion.
Perhaps even more significantly, that same source found that the annual growth rate in the number of women-owned firms was double that of all other businesses. As of 2021, women-owned businesses employed more than 10.1 million people.
Like any start-up, women-owned businesses need capital. You can go through traditional bank loans or other types of lenders, but you also have another option: grants.
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