9 Best Small Business Grants For Women
Whether it’s fashion, agriculture, financial planning, or even an entirely new innovation, the opportunities for entrepreneurship are endless. If you have a hot idea for a brand new product or service and want to start a business, there are a ton of opportunities for grants and loans to help you in your journey to starting your start-up.
And if you’re a woman, you may be eligible for some grants that are geared specifically toward capable women like yourself. Here are nine of some of the best small business grants for women looking to start a business.
Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business Grant
If your business is a non-profit making positive social and environmental impacts in your community, then look no further. Promoting the combination of women’s rights and the mitigation of climate change, the Eileen Fisher grant wants to support non-profits and sponsored businesses in their pursuits.
If you apply for – and win – this small business grant launched by fashion designed Eileen Fisher in 2004, you could win up to $40,000 a year for your business. However, you must be participating in at least one of the following activities to qualify: you must either be increasing women’s participation in decision-making; training women and young girls on how to mitigate or advocate for climate change prevention; or be engaging women in the sustainable economy.
GirlBoss Foundation Grant
If your business specializes in design, fashion, music, or the arts, then this may be the grant you’ve been looking for. You must be an already established business, and you must provide a plan for a project that you would like to use the funding for.
There’s another catch, as well – the project must be able to be completed within 12 months of receiving the grant. If you’re selected, however, you will receive a $15,000 grant that will allow you to meet those goals. Candidates are selected based on creativity, planning, and proof of financial need.
Another grant that provides funding solely to woman-owned small businesses, the Amber Grant was launched in 1998 in honor of a woman who passed away before she could fulfill her dream of starting a business. This grant is relatively simple to apply for and doesn’t have any special requirements other than that you have to be a woman and you have to own a small business.
If you tell your story, describe what you want to do with the money, and pay a $15 application fee, you may be a winner. One woman each month is selected for a $10,000 grant, and one of those will be chosen at the end of the year to receive an additional $25,000.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Grant
Once a year, twenty-one woman-owned businesses from regions around the world are chosen to receive this incredible grant. Focusing not just on money, but on workshops, training programs, and networking opportunities as well, this grant is more valuable than it seems. If chosen, the candidates must spend 3-4 hours per week participating in the program, which runs from January to April.
They must also participate in a week-long workshop in May. Finally, one winner will be chosen from each qualifying region to earn $100,000, and two runner-ups from each region will earn $30,000.
Shirley Holden Helberg Grant
Do you not own a business, but still consider yourself an “entrepreneur” or “self-employed”? This is the case for several female professional authors, artists, and musicians. The Shirley Holden Helberg Grant seeks to support women in these fields. Each year, they will choose to award three grants of $1,000 each in the fields of arts, creative writing, and music. You must be a woman and aged 35 or older to qualify.
Though not a grant in and of itself, this website is a database that can work to connect you to opportunities for women across industries, regions, and qualifications. Simply type in what you do and what you’re looking for, and the website will match you with any grants that you qualify for.
This is a great way to find smaller, lesser-known, or local grants that you may not be able to find with a simple Google search. You may also be more likely to win some of these, as they are often less competitive than some of the national or international ones.
Chicago Foundation for Women Grant
To receive this grant, you must be a non-profit that promotes women’s economic security, freedom from violence, and/or health. You must also be located within Chicago, have women in leadership positions, and be working to benefit women and girls in underserved communities specifically. Although limited in application scope, this grant makes the list because of its intention to encourage new businesses that participate in these activities.
FedEx Small Business Grant
Although men are eligible to receive this grant, women are more often chosen – even the first recipient of the grant was a woman – which is why this one makes the cut as well. Additionally, winners don’t just receive money for their business, but also a budget of free FedEx printing and shipping services.
Ten winners are selected from the eligible candidates. The top winner receives $25,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx services; the second wins $15,000 and $5,000 in services; and eight are awarded $7,500 plus $1,000 in services.
Ms. Foundation Grant
The Ms. Foundation Grant is specifically awarded to non-profit organizations that promote reproductive health, affordable child care, and gender-based violence-prevention programs throughout the United States. The award does not have a set amount, choosing instead to have applicants describe a project they would like to use the money for and determine the winnings that way.
Money is not the only thing winners receive, however. They will also win support for their organization, networking opportunities, and leadership training.
If you’re a woman looking to start up a business – or even already have one, but don’t have the funding to complete the desired project – there are a wealth of opportunities you can partake in no matter what industry you may be in. It also never hurts to apply. Who knows; you may be the next recipient of one of these grants!