The ability to raise capital is essential to the success of numerous firms. However, women-owned companies have different challenges in securing investment and financing for their businesses. In spite of the fact that women-owned over 40% of the businesses within the U.S. by 2019, nearly 98 percent of venture capital that was earmarked for new ventures was lent to male founders by 2020.
Business owners who are women often have a difficult time getting business loans at a greater percentage when compared to their male counterparts. Just 12% of women business owners reported receiving the total amount of funding they needed through lenders by 2021, compared with 14% for male-owned companies according to the 2021 Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey. It’s important to know that 82% of female-owned businesses and 82% of firms run by men were able to obtain relief funds from Covid-19 by way of The Payment Protection Program (PPP) in the year.
If business loans or equity financing is difficult to find, female entrepreneurs may also want to look into grant opportunities for business to women. Business grants are competitive, and competition can be fierce, however, should you be eligible, you could get a cash infusion for your business which you will never need to pay back.
Here are 11 of the most popular business awards for women.
The first source that you can look through if you’re searching for business grants that women can apply for is Grants.gov. The site offers a list of grants that are sponsored by the Federal government that are available to both males and females. It also allows you to use the search function on the database to search for grants created specifically for women entrepreneurs in mind.
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In the beginning, you’ll need to create an account on Grants.gov Workspace. After you’ve done that, you and others on your team can edit and submit individual grant application forms that can be found in the database.
Be sure that you or your business is qualified for grants before beginning applying process. Each grant opportunity that is listed within the Grants.gov database has specific information about the requirements for eligibility.
2. The Girlboss Foundation Grant
The Girlboss Foundation offers grants for women entrepreneurs who are innovative and creative. To be eligible for these semi-annual grants, you’ll need to be a female-owned company that is in the fields of design, art and fashion or music industries.
The grant winners receive an amount of $15,000 for their projects. They also enjoy marketing benefits through newsletters and social media content from Girlboss.com.
Girlboss offers grants to innovative women entrepreneurs twice a year. It has given out grants of $130,000 since it was established in 2014. Learn more about how you can apply for grants on Girlboss.com.
3. Amber Grant
At the age of 19, Amber Wigdahl passed away before she was able to make her business-related goals into reality. in 1998 WomensNet established an Amber Grant program in the hopes of the budding entrepreneurs’ honor.
Then, WomenNet expanded its program to include grants to:
- Different business types
- Each month ($10,000) or year-end grant ($25,000)
The foundation awards a minimum $35,000 in grant funds every month. The funds are available to women-owned businesses that meet the criteria and have their applications screened by the selection committee.
The application process in the form of Amber Grants online. One application is accepted for all grants you and your company can be eligible for. The organization evaluates the applications it receives monthly and announces its monthly grant winners on the 23rd of each month.
4. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The year 2006 was the time that Cartier Women’s Initiative founded an annual program with the intention of supporting women entrepreneurs. Companies that are owned by women or run by women can apply for awards, which include:
- Awards are distributed across Ten regions. A total of three grants are given to each region, resulting in 30 grants. The first-place awardee gets $100,000; every second-place awardee receives $60,000; every third-place winner gets $30,000.
- Science & Technology Pioneer Award. The award amounts are identical to those for regional awards.
- The Equity and Inclusion Award. Cartier Women’s Initiative is yet to announce the amount of this award, but the next deadline for applications will be open on May 16, 2022. Sign up for newsletters on the Cartier Women’s Initiative website to learn more about this award.
Download an Application to apply for Cartier Women’s Initiative regional awards on the internet. In order to be considered for the awards, you’ll need to prove that your business is owned by women or run by women and is committed to creating a lasting and sustainable contribution to society or the environment. The application for the 2023 grant is due at the end of May 16-2022, and closes on the 15th of July 2022.
Grant applicants that are an eligible must:
- Manage or operate for-profit businesses
- In the initial stage of growth (between one and five years)
- It should be able to prove that it has earned profits through sales (goods or services or goods) for at least one year.
- Have attained a minimum of $2 million in financing
- Reach at most one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
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Established in the year 2000. GrantsforWomen.org was established in 2000. It is an online service for women entrepreneurs to find and explore various grants and scholarships. Its goal is to assist women from all over the world in realizing their business goals.
A grant’s application process is different from one program to another. GrantsforWomen.org will assist you in locating grants that may be the right fit for your company. You’ll then need to follow the guidelines that are provided by these organizations once you’re ready to apply.
6. Eileen Fisher Women-owned Business Grant
The Eileen Fisher organization–a women’s clothing brand established over three decades ago, awards $200,000 of annual grants to women-owned businesses with a female-owned business. Individual grants can range between $10,000 and $40,000 per grant.
Entrepreneurs who are women and involved in the following fields could be considered for grant financing.
- Facilitating women’s participation in the decision-making process (especially those that yield positive environmental outcomes)
- Women’s participation is encouraged in a sustainable economic
- Women and girls are taught how to adapt to climate change, and/or how to influence the current climate change policies to a more favorable
While the program is temporarily suspended, once it’s active, you can access the application online. To be eligible, your company must also be a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that is which is registered with IRS (or have an authorized financial patron) as well as be able to demonstrate that it is able to provide directly-related services for its clients. Additionally, you must be able to submit your application and subsequent interviews in English.
Businesses that align themselves with particular religious or political parties cannot be eligible to receive grants. The same is true for capital campaigns, academic institutions, event sponsorships, and organizations run by people who are not identified as female.
7. Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation is another famous fashion brand that offers grants to women entrepreneurs. In addition to the grants of $5,000 for business education, The foundation also seeks to encourage women-owned businesses at their beginning stages by:
- Access to capital for business
- Professionally-run workshops (live as well as on-demand)
- Network of peer-to-peer (with the possibility of collaboration with female founders)
The Women of Color Grant Program (sponsored by both The Tory Burch Foundation and the Fearless Fund) is available to female entrepreneurs of the color of their skin. Businesses with a need for funding can be eligible to be awarded grants between $10,000 and $20,000 under this program.
Every year, each year, the Tory Burch Foundation chooses 50 female entrepreneurs from its list of applicants to be Fellows of the annual program. To be qualified for grant funding, you must be a woman with the most stake (at least 51 percent) in the company she operates. Fill up and then apply online through the website of the foundation.
8. The Halstead Grant
If you’re a manufacturer of silver-based jewelry, you might want to apply for this grant called the Halstead Grant. It was established in 2006, and the Halstead Grant provides the newest silver jewelry makers–women and men alike – the chance to apply for the start-up grant of $7,500, along with additional benefits to increase their profits. Semi-finalists (up to five people in all) could receive cash awards of $500 or $250 and expert assistance with the promotion of their companies.
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It is possible to download and fill out an online application to apply for Halstead Grant on the internet. The application comprises 15 questions related to business that you be required to answer. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll need to submit your application and photos of your portfolio by the August 1 deadline to be considered for consideration for the current year’s award.
9. SoGal Startup Grant
It is the SoGal Startup Grant is a program that seeks to assist Black female entrepreneurs. Even though this group is the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs (at any time in recorded time), Black women founders are not receiving more than 0.5 percent of venture capital investment.
The winners who are awarded SoGal’s SoGal Startup Grant receive cash awards of up to $10,000 or $5,000 in startup funds. They also receive guidance from a professional to guide them through how to go about the process. This benefit aims to even the playing field for business by providing a fair chance for women of color to expand their businesses.
In order to be eligible for a SoGal Startup Grant, you must be a Black woman or nonbinary entrepreneur (multiracial applicants within these categories can also be eligible). Furthermore, you must run an entity that is legally registered and demonstrate a plan to solicit capital from investors and also share your business plan–a concept that has the potential to become a billion-dollar enterprise.
10. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has been granting Growth Grants to its members since. The program provides cash grants of $4,000 to both men and women entrepreneurs with small businesses. The winners can use the grant money to pay for one of the following purposes:
- Marketing and advertising
- Building facilities
- Employees who hire
- Other business expenses
Before you are eligible to apply for a NASE Growth Grant, you must first join NASE, which is the National Association for the Self-Employed. The type of membership you choose will determine if you are eligible to apply as soon as you are eligible (e.g., Annual Members or Veteran Members, as well as Silver Members with Annual Fees or Gold Membership) or if you have to wait until 90 days after applying (e.g., Monthly Silver Members and members who pay monthly fees).
The grant committee reviews proposals every quarter.
11. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
FedEx created The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest to provide a means to aid U.S. small businesses that have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic. Grant winners receive checks of $50,000 (grand prize winner) and additional credit (up to $7,500) to be used for printing services at FedEx Office for business printing services.
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Candidates must be U.S.-based small-sized firms (for-profit) that have less than 5 million dollars in sales per year and have shipped products within the last 12 months. Eligible businesses can open a FedEx account and join the contest for grants in 2022 until February 28th, 2022. The period of voting and the time the date that FedEx declares its top 100 prize winners takes place from March 22 to 31, 2022. The winners are announced on May 4, 2022.
How to Choose the Right Business Grant
There are two main kinds of grants that are for small-sized business owners: government as well as corporate grants. For corporate grants, the requirements are generally simpler to meet. However, you might face more competition from other applicants as because of the more relaxed selection requirements.
The application process is often a hassle for government grants. However, in the end, the applicant pool could not be as extensive, an aspect that could increase your chances of being awarded the cash prize.
For any type of grant, it’s essential to go over the conditions for eligibility before applying. Don’t be wasting precious time (or the time of the selection committee) applying to grant programs that don’t exist or are not accessible to you. Your time should be spent searching for grants you’re eligible for instead.