Over the years, the number of companies owned by woman has grown tremendously. As of 2016, women were majority owners of over 38% of US businesses. Unfortunately, despite the successful growth of women entrepreneurship, women-owned companies typically operate with less financial capital than companies owned by men, especially non-minority men. Moreover, women still own a smaller percentage of businesses than men in the US and have limited access to the same resources.
To help women entrepreneurs succeed in this environment, a lot of organizations offer grant-funding specifically for women-owned businesses.
Interestingly enough, women are more likely to invest their own personal finances into their business rather than searching for outside resources, such as bank loans. Unlike bank loans, grants are essentially free financing that you aren’t required to pay back. Sounds like a great opportunity, right?
Since grants are so appealing, competition is extremely fierce, and it can take a lot of time and perseverance to win a grant.
The Devil’s in the Details
A lot of grants have eligibility requirements for application, which would restrict certain businesses from applying. Be sure to look at all the details to see if you’re eligible before applying. If you’re able to find a grant that your company qualifies for and are fortunate enough to win the grant, you may face restrictions on how the money can be spent or you may find that you must send extensive reports on how the money is being used.
Finding a grant that works for you will take a lot of research.
Where to Find Them
If you’re a women-owned business, you can apply to any business grants that your company is eligible for. But, you also have a handful of grants meant to support women entrepreneurs, specifically. Here are a few resources that can help you get your search underway:
Grants.gov: A great resource for any business looking for federally sponsored grants.
Amber Grant: These micro-grants help women start or grow a business in any field. Grants are awarded to different businesswomen every month.
Fast Pitch Awards: These awards from the Women Founders Network are restricted to women founders and CEOs or businesses that are majority-owned by women. These are eligible for businesses in any industry.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program: These grants are meant for women-owned small businesses making a positive social and environmental impact.
GrantsforWomen.org: Another useful database similar to Grants.gov. This database details opportunities for women across all industries.
Open Meadows Foundation: This organization provides funding to women-backed projects that promote gender, racial, and economic justice.
Most of the resources above are available to businesses worldwide, but don’t forget to do some research on state and local grants that your company may be eligible for. When seeking a grant, be sure to look out for scams – any reputable organization will not require you to pay money or sign up for a subscription to qualify for funding.
Searching and applying for grants can be daunting, but just be sure to do your research, apply on time, and go out and get that funding!