Govt. Grants For Women Business Start Up
Undoubtedly, if you are an entrepreneur, raising capital is a huge part of your job. To help women entrepreneurs thrive, some government agencies, nonprofits, and private organizations offer small business grants.
But when you know where to look and understand the benefits available, you can do your best. Here is a comprehensive guide to the best grants for women business start up (many of which are open to men as well), as well as information on how to apply.
Grants For Women Business Start Up
Grants for women business start up are essentially free money that you don’t have to pay back, unlike small business loans and credit cards. That makes the competition for them very fierce.
What it is : A database of government-sponsored grants, including small business grants.
How to Apply : Visit the official government grants website, Grants.gov, and see if you are eligible.
Potential Benefits : The benefits vary between the different types of grant and the different government agencies involved.
If you are looking for government sponsored grants for women business start up, Grants.gov is the best place to start.
All government grants are open to male and female business owners, and this website serves as a database of all federal grants – including those specifically available for small business owners.
To search for this type of scholarship, visit the official government scholarship website and check out the Scholarship Applicants section to see if you are eligible.
It is important to note that this database contains a wide variety of grants. Hence, you may have to search through various options to find the ones that are most relevant to small business owners.
While there are no specific grants for women business start up on this website, Grants.gov can still serve as a good starting point for women who looking for grants for women business start up. Over a dozen federal agencies participate in the database.
2. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
What it is : These grants are made to any small business owner who is a NASE member and has a proven record of cash needs.
Application : Apply online on the NASE website.
Potential Benefits : Multiple Grant Prizes of $4,000 each
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) operates a scholarship program that is only available to its approximately 50,000 members. To become a NASE member, you must pay $120 a year for a basic membership. NASE offers members networking and mentoring resources, discounts on business products, and legislative advocacy.
In return for membership, members also get exclusive access to grants for women business start up. Since 2006, NASE has offered its members nearly $1 million in grant funds.
To qualify for their Growth Grants program – in addition to your NASE membership – you must demonstrate a specific business need that the grants for women business start up could support.
You will also need to demonstrate how the grant will improve the overall growth and success of your business and include a resume and business plan.
3. Amber Grant
What it is : A Small Business Grant for Women Entrepreneurs created in honor of a young woman who died before she could fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams.
How to Apply : Tell your story and pay a $15 application fee.
Potential Benefits : The program awards a $10,000 small business grant to a female entrepreneur. A winner will receive an additional $25,000 at the end of the year.
The Amber Grant for women was created by Womensnet.com in 1998 to commemorate the young woman Amber who died before she could pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. The scholarship was created to help women entrepreneurs achieve their goals when Amber couldn’t.
This program awards a $10,000 grant to a qualified female entrepreneur each month of the year. One of the winners of the monthly qualification scholarship will receive an additional $25,000 by the end of the year. These grants are small but can be very helpful for those working to get their business off the ground. Remember, these funds are not repaid.
The application deadline for each monthly scholarship is the last of each month. So, if you want a chance of winning the Amber Scholarship, you have the option to apply any time of the year. All you have to do to apply is tell your story and pay a small application fee ($15). Find out more about the application here.
4. IdeaCafe Grant
What it is : Grants for women business start up for anyone who owns their own business or is planning to start one.
How to apply : Simply fill out the free application.
Potential Benefits : $1,000 Small Business Grant.
The IdeaCafe Grant awards a micro-grant of $1,000 each year to a small business owner. The application deadline is in January, so apply early. While the funding isn’t technically just a small business grant for women, the vast majority of the winners were women entrepreneurs.
This is a great grant to apply for if you are a relatively new startup looking for funding. Grants for women business start up is also available to those who have a business idea but have not yet actively started developing it.
5. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
What it is : A scholarship given to 21 women entrepreneurs around the world every year.
How to apply : Follow the application instructions here.
Potential Benefits : All 21 finalists will receive either a first prize of $100,000 and personal mentoring or a second prize of $30,000 in prize money.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is presented once a year to 21 women entrepreneurs worldwide.
The Cartier Award is intended for women entrepreneurs in the early stages of their company’s development (between one and three years). The business should generate income, but it doesn’t have to be profitable.
The top seven finalists will win $100,000 and personal business mentoring from an expert that Cartier will find for you. The remaining 14 applicants will win a prize of $30,000.
Each of the 21 finalists of the Small Business Grant Award receives a place in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Six-Day Executive Program (ISEP) as well as the opportunity to take part in entrepreneur workshops, business coaching seminars and networking opportunities.
What it is : Database of opportunities for women in all industries.
How to apply : Use the database to identify relevant opportunities and follow their application instructions.
Potential Benefits : The benefits vary with each opportunity.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive resource on grants for women business start up and other funding opportunities, GrantsforWomen.org is a great resource. You can search for scholarship opportunities and grants for women business start up on this website, but be forewarned – most are for non-business use.
7. FedEx Small Business Grant
What it is : Small Business Enterprise Grants.
How to apply : Follow the application rules here.
Potential Benefits : Twelve winners will receive business grants and free printing and business services from FedEx.
While the FedEx Small Business Grant is technically not a grants for women business start up only for women entrepreneurs, women small business owners are encouraged to apply.
In fact, the very first FedEx Small Business Grant recipient was a woman: Nicole Snow, founder and CEO of Darn Good Yarn. As of 2013, the FedEx grant has given $250,000 in PA small business grants to entrepreneurs across the country.
Each year 12 winners receive a grant from FedEx. One winner will receive a grand prize of $50,000 plus $7,500 for FedEx services, one winner will receive a silver award of $30,000.
Plus $5,000 for FedEx services, and 10 winners will receive a bronze award of $15,000 plus $1,000 US dollars for printing services.
8. The Halstead Grant
What it is : Small Business Scholarship for Women Entrepreneurs in the Jewelry Industry.
How to Apply : Submit a portfolio and answer a series of questions that outline a business plan.
Potential Benefits : A cash grant of $7,500 plus $1,000 for Halstead jewelry supplies.
The Halstead Grant was founded in 2006 as a small business grant specifically for women entrepreneurs in the jewelry industry. The grant is given to aspiring jewelry designers in the United States – specifically for companies under the age of five.
Those who apply should be ready to answer a series of questions about their business goals and strategies. The winners will receive a grant of $7,500, $1,000 towards Halstead jewelry supplies and jewelry industry advertising. The good news is that even those applicants who don’t win will receive general feedback on their business plan from the jury.
9. Open Meadows Foundation
What it is : An organization that provides grants to women-supported projects that promote gender, racial, and economic justice.
How to apply : Follow the instructions here.
Potential Benefits : The organization provides $2,000 to eligible projects that have limited access to financial resources.
The Open Meadows Foundation is an organization that awards grants for women-supported projects promoting gender, racial, and economic justice.
Applicants must be women and companies must benefit women and girls.
The grant provides $2,000 to eligible projects that have limited access to financial resources to grow. Specifically, Open Meadows only looks at organizations that have $75,000 or less in budget resources.
This grants for women business start up is a great opportunity for those who have just started a business or are in the process of starting a business.
10. 37 Angels
What it is : An angel investment group on a mission to bridge the gender gap in startup investing.
How to apply : Submit an application through Gust and every two months eight applicants will be selected to present their investors.
Potential Benefits : The organization invests $50,000 to $200,000 as a network in each company (most Angels invest $25,000 each).
37 Angels, while not a traditional scholarship program, can be a great funding solution for startups looking to invest.
While 37 Angels doesn’t just invest in women-owned companies, 37 Angels is actively seeking to bridge the gender gap in startup investing. According to their website, around a third of their portfolio consists of female founders.
After submitting an application through their website, you may have the opportunity to showcase your investor network (an event that takes place every two months). You will receive a funding decision in four weeks and can receive an investment of up to $200,000. In addition to funding, 37 Angels also provides education and ongoing support.
11. Small Business Innovation Research Program
What it is : Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) supports scientific excellence and technological innovation by investing federal research funds in small businesses that are engaged in research and development and have commercial potential.
How to Apply : You can search and apply for SBIR funding opportunities through the website.
Potential Benefits : Grants start at $150,000 but can reach over $1 million.
Driven by the SBA grant, the SBIR finances small businesses in the field of research and development. There are extensive eligibility requirements as several federal agencies offer these grants for women business start up. However, to begin with, your business must be for-profit, more than 50% owned by a U.S. citizen, and have fewer than 500 employees.
12. Visa Everywhere Initiative
What it is : A competition aimed at startups and fintech companies to solve the payment and commerce challenges of the future.
How to Apply : Apply through their website by answering a specific challenge question.
Potential Benefits : Prize money ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.
While this grants for women business start up applies to both male and female-run businesses, Visa is also offering a Women’s Global Edition of this contest that awards two winners with $100,000 each – for completing a fintech challenge and a challenge for social impact. While this grant takes a lot of work, it can be a great opportunity, especially for companies in the fintech industry that are run by women.
It may seem like there aren’t many grants for women business start up or run a business, but the options above should give you a place to start. Additionally, when you add state and local business grants for women entrepreneurs, you should be able to apply for a significant number of grants.
Regardless of which scholarship you are applying for, find out carefully about the funding requirements and submit your application on time. If grants for women business start up don’t work for you or you need additional funding, consider your other funding options.