These days, women are keen on exploring various income sources. Whether they join the corporate world or run a business, they will definitely make big waves.
For women who want to venture into all kinds of businesses, there are many ways to finance this interesting endeavor and one of which is to apply for grants. With grants for women in business, any women entrepreneurs can get additional funding for undertaking a business project.
Unlike small business loans and business credit cards that you have to repay over a specific period of time, business grants for women are considered free financing. However, you also have to keep in mind that a considerable amount of time and effort is required to win these grants.
Types Of Business Grants
For startup founders or small business owners, there are four types of business grants to explore.
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants
Government agencies offer this type of business grant. Each year, SBA provides three types of business grants for research and development and scientific projects.
To qualify for this grant, you must prove that the federal government will utilize the projects you’ll undertake and commercialize. With the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), local small businesses can get assistance from the SBA and the state government if they intend to invest in export development.
2. Government Grants
There are three types of government grants for small businesses: local, state, and federal. Local grants have minimal requirements, but they only approve a lesser amount of money than other types of government grants. A local grant focuses on local community improvement.
For instance, if you plan to help your community, you can apply for a local grant. State grants, on the other hand, while also offer less money, aren’t as competitive as federal grants. These grants can be used for undertaking business projects.
Federal grants are the most competitive type of government grant, and they offer the most money. Before you get approved, you need to comply with the strict requirements. This grant is also connected with a government agency, so you’ll need to consider stipulations when it comes to using the money.
3. Corporate Grants
Corporate grants are designed for those who want to pursue entrepreneurial projects. Before your application for a corporate grant is approved, you have to turn in business plans, portfolios, or essays. Some examples of corporate grants are Visa’s Everywhere Initiative, Comcast Innovation Fund, And FedEx Small Business Grant Contest.
4. Minority Grants
For female entrepreneurs in need of extra funds to expand or build a business, minority grants are the way to go. As the name suggests, this type of grant covers funding for specific demography, including women, ethnic groups, veterans, and many others.
Where To Look For Grants For Women In Business
Regardless of the funding sources you’re looking for; many good places offer grant opportunities:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
This federal government agency helps small business owners and entrepreneurs in the US-run businesses the smoothest way possible by providing low-interest funding access. Check out SBA’s grant page to know more about the grant’s eligibility requirements.
Grants.gov is the US government’s largest database on the internet. They have more than 2,300 active grants where businesswomen can apply for a federal grant. Before you apply for grants on grants.gov, be sure you have D-U-N-S Number.
It’s also necessary to provide your SSN or EIN when you create an account on System for Award Management (SAM).
Local Women’s Business Center
Women can also apply for business grants through a local women’s business center, which offers business plan development, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. You will also have access to funding through this business center.
You can use SBA’s lookup tool to know the nearest Women’s Business Center in your area.
The US General Services Administration maintains Challenge.gov. Its purpose is to seek help from small businesses and individuals regarding solving public problems equivalent to grants. While the application process is lengthy, the rewards that await applicants are well worth the effort.
The list of expired challenges can be found here.
Businesses that are related to technology can seek financial assistance from Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). The site offers grants for any small business that is planning to pursue research and development.
Top 5 Grants For Women in Business
1. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The grant is awarded to 21 businesswomen from across the globe every year. Seven finalists will get $100,000 and business mentoring from industry experts, while the remaining finalists will get $30,000. They will also be given a spot in INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program which runs for six days.
To be eligible for the grant, women entrepreneurs need to be at the early stage of their business (1 to 3 years).
Instructions on how to apply for the grant are available here.
2. 37 Angels
This type of grant for women fills the gender gap in small business investment. The amount you can receive from this grant is up to $200,000. You will also receive ongoing support and education. Only eight lucky applicants will be selected every two months.
Any woman who is a startup business owner is qualified to apply.
You can submit your application here.
3. The Halstead Grant
The grant started in 2006, and it is intended for female jewelry designers specializing in silverworks. Applicants who will be chosen receive a $7,500 cash grant, $1,000 worth of Halstead jewelry supplies, and publicity.
You can apply for a Halstead Grant if you are a female entrepreneur based in the US and running a jewelry business for under three years.
You can submit your portfolio and your business goals and strategies here.
4. Tory Burch Foundation
Women empowerment is the primary objective of the Tory Burch Foundation, which started in 2009. The grant provides education, networking resources, and capital to women in business through its Fellows Program. Selected applicants will be given $5,000, a trip to Tory Burch’s offices to attend workshops and business education.
If you are a businesswoman based in the US with a for-profit business under five years old, you can apply for this grant by following these online application instructions.
5. Open Meadows Foundation
The grant supports projects promoted by women. Applicants who will be chosen receive $2,000, and only those who have limited financial resources or with less than $75,000 to undertake women-backed projects will be eligible for the grant. Application guidelines can be found here.
These grants for women in business involve a difficult process due to strict requirements, but due diligence will pay off. Be sure to check qualifications and prepare all the necessary eligibility requirements. You might also want to hire a grant writer to assist you in meeting the package and requirements of the application. Make an informed decision before you decide to apply.