Women are breaking boundaries in business by establishing progressive enterprises that stand the test of time. With most women skeptical about running a business for some peculiar financial reasons, the government and various individual bodies have taken it upon themselves to provide financial resources in the form of grants to women-owned businesses throughout their progression.
To help you select, this article lists the top 12 grants for women-owned businesses; carefully read through.
Why Should Women-Owned Businesses Apply For Business Grants?
Raising capital is critical to the success of many companies. However, women-owned businesses face unequal challenges regarding securing business financing and investments.
Even though women owned more than 40% of businesses in the U.S. by 2019, almost 98% of venture capital for new startups went to male founders in 2020.
Unlike male entrepreneurs, it is usually challenging to get approval for female-owned business funding, according to a report by Federal Reserve’s 2021 Small Business Credit Survey.
It’s also pertinent to note that, in the same year, 80% of women-owned firms and 82% of those run by men applied for Covid-19 relief money under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
With the above stats showing that business loans and equity funding is hard the come by for female entrepreneurs, the best alternative for women in business is to consider business grants.
While the competition for business grants may e high, you can get the cash needed to upscale your business if you carefully go through the process and apply correctly.
Keep reading to find out the top 10 business grants for women in 2023
Top 12 Grants For Women-Owned Businesses In 2023
Here is a list of the twelve best grants for women-owned businesses in 2023:
- Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
- Alpha Kappa Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF)
- Stacy’s Rise Project
- Eileen Fisher Women-owned Business Grant
- Tory Burch Foundation
- The Halstead Grant
- Lowe’s Small Business Relief Grant
- Black Girl Ventures
- Girlboss Foundation Grant
- NASE Growth Grant
Grants.gov is one of the first places you might want to visit if you’re looking for business grants for women. The website includes a list of federal awards available to both men and women.
The database’s search function allows you to browse for grants created, especially with women company owners in mind.
You must sign up on the Grants.gov Workspace account to apply for this business grant. Once you do so, you and other team members can edit and complete individual grant applications available through the database.
Before you start the application procedure, confirm that you or your company are eligible for the grants in question.
The Grants.gov database offers comprehensive information about eligibility requirements for each funding opportunity.
2. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
This yearly initiative was established in 2006 by the Cartier Women’s Initiative to empower female business owners. Applications for the prizes are accepted from companies run or controlled by women, including:
- Awards across 10 regions. Each region receives a total of three funds for a total of 30 grants. Each winner of the first place prize receives $100,000, followed by the winners of the second and third places with $60,000 and $30,000, respectively.
- Science & Technology Pioneer Award. These awards are the same as the regional awards.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. Cartier, Women’s Initiative has not yet disclosed the grant award amounts. However, the next application period will begin on May 16, 2022. To learn more about this prize, subscribe to the Cartier Women’s Initiative website’s newsletter.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative regional awards application is available for download online. You must show that your company is woman-owned or -run and that its goal is to have a positive and long-lasting influence on society or the environment to qualify.
Grant applications for 2023 will be accepted starting on May 16 and ending on July 15, 2022.
3. Alpha Kappa Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF)
Alpha Kappa Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF), a renowned organization, provides fellowships, scholarships, awards for community service, and grants for small businesses to help African American women.
The program aims to reduce economic disparities and provide participants with opportunities and financial flexibility to increase their educational funding options.
GrantsforWomen.org, an online resource established in 2000, assists female company owners in discovering and evaluating a range of grant and scholarship options. The platform seeks to make it possible for women worldwide to accomplish their professional objectives.
5. Stacy’s Rise Project
The Stacy’s Rise Project is an annual grant and mentoring program assisting women in business that was developed by the company that makes Stacy’s Pita Chips. In 2020, the project teamed up with Hello Alice, an online community for business leaders, to give 15 Black female entrepreneurs a combined $150,000 in grants.
6. Lowe’s Small Business Relief Grant
The Lowe’s Small Business Relief Grant has given out grants totaling $52.6 million. Women run 67% of these small businesses. As a result, grants are readily available to registered business owners who need money to build their companies.
The fund provides information and guidance to help small company owners get through the pandemic and stay afloat.
As part of their commitment to increase their impact in rural America, LISC has teamed up with Lowe’s to award Rural Relief Small Business Grants to small business owners in rural locations across the country. Grants of $20,000 are available to assist rural small businesses in meeting their most urgent needs, such as:
- Upgrading technology infrastructure
- Meeting payroll
- Paying rent and utilities
- Paying outstanding debt to vendors
- Other immediate operational costs
7. Eileen Fisher Women-owned Business Grant
The Eileen Fisher organization, a women’s apparel company established over three decades ago, grants $200,000 annually to deserving women-owned enterprises. The grant amounts per recipient range from $10,000 to $40,000.
The following are the categories of women entrepreneurs to be considered for the grant:
- Women interested in decision-making processes concerning the environment.
- If you promote female participation in a sustainable economy.
- If you are involved in teaching girls how to adapt to climate change and influence the current climate change policies.
To qualify, your company must also demonstrate that it offers direct services to its clients and be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered with the IRS (or have a fiscal sponsor). Additionally, you must be proficient in English to complete your application and any subsequent interviews.
8. Tory Burch Foundation
Another well-known clothing company that offers awards for female entrepreneurs is the Tory Burch Foundation. In addition to providing $5,000 grants for business education, the foundation also attempts to support women-owned businesses by:
- Providing access to business capital
- Granting access to professional workshops and seminars
- Network and collaboration with female founders.
Qualified companies may acquire grants valued between $10,000 and $20,000 through this program.
To qualify for this business grant for women, you must be a woman with at least 51% state in your business. Each year 50 black women entrepreneurs are selected.
9. NASE Growth Grant
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) provides budding entrepreneurs who seek to grow their firms with a $4,000 business development grant. Even though the program does not expressly target women, we felt it was worth mentioning because it has already received more than $1 million in grant funds.
Applicants must be NASE members and be able to specify a specific business need for which they need funds to be considered for the grant. You might build a website, get new computers, hire part-time help, or generate marketing materials.
10. The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant is a small-enterprise grant program established in 2006 and is targeted toward female business owners who own firms in the jewelry sector.
It is awarded to upcoming American female jewelry designers each summer. To qualify for this grant, you need to be a student or experienced jewelry designer seeking a full-time career in metal jewelry creation, have a line of metal jewelry that contains a considerable amount of sterling or fine silver, and have a unified collection of metal jewelry for resale are all prerequisites.
Eligible applicants also need to be U.S. citizens who can sell nationally. A $7,500 cash scholarship and $1,000 in Halstead jewelry supplies are given to the winners.
11. Black Girl Ventures
By giving them a forum, BGV acts as a launchpad for the companies of black female entrepreneurs. The platform allows black female entrepreneurs to access financial and social capital. In a word, the objective is for them to succeed in reaching the objectives they have established for their company.
Female Founders Fund is one of the institutional financing options available to female business owners. The fund’s enterprise value, which has increased to almost three billion dollars, represents a significant financial opportunity for female entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups and black communities who want funding to realize their aspirations.
This organization aims to help Black/Brown women entrepreneurs reach key business milestones that result in economic growth through entrepreneurship by giving them access to community, funding, and capacity building.
12. Girlboss Foundation Grant
This grant is awarded to women-owned businesses that are pursuing creative endeavors.
Girlboss, an organization run by Sophia Amoruso, aims to redefine success for millennial women by providing them with the resources and connections they need to control their lives. In support of this goal, the Girlboss Foundation twice annually gives out two small-business grants totaling $15,000 to female entrepreneurs who work solely in the design, fashion, music, and art sectors.
Through the Girlboss platform and network, as well as the local and regional press, winners also have access to media exposure. Applications are evaluated based on various criteria, including creativity and innovation in the applicant’s profession, business acumen and planning, financial need and projected timing, and the viability of the applicant’s 12-month work plan and budget.
How To Find Grants For Women-owned Businesses
Getting approved for a grant is difficult, so prepare for a lot of time and work if you decide to apply. Most grants have strict requirements or particular qualifications, so the most challenging part is often finding grants you are well suited for. While the exact process differs according to the specific grant, you can follow these tips to increase your chances of approval:
1. Do your research
Various grants are available for women, each with specific requirements and qualifications, so the best way to raise your chances of receiving a grant is to look up as many as possible.
Many grant directories are online, such as GuideStar, GrantStation, Grant Gopher, Terra Viva, and Grants.gov.
2. Confirm you are qualified to apply for the grant
Before undertaking the demanding process of applying for a grant, make sure you meet all the requirements. Grants are usually tailored to suit a specific category of people, so take your time and ensure you review the process before you commence the application.
3. Clearly explain why you need the grant and how to intend to spend it
Before applying for a grant, you must know precisely how you plan to use the funds and why you think they should be awarded. Be prepared to submit charts, graphs, projection sheets, or other documents that clearly illustrate your intentions.
4. Consider hiring a grant writer if need be
The grant application process can be so challenging that an entire profession is devoted to it. A grant writer can help you satisfy all the requirements and package your application well.
FAQs On Grants For Women-Owned Businesses
How can a woman get money to start a business?
A woman can fund her business by applying for Small business loans, Business lines of credit, grants, equity financing, crowdfunding, business acquisition loans, SBA loans, and lots more.
Is a grant different from a loan?
Yes, it is. The difference between loans and a grant is that loans are not free; they need to be repaid with interest, while grants are not repaid.
Are grants repayable?
No, grants are not meant to be repaid.
Various choices are available for female business owners in cities across the U.S. needing business grants.
Applying for a small-business grant may take longer than applying for a loan, and there is a significant chance that you won’t get accepted. You should try using it if the program makes sense, as numerous award programs are open to everyone and explicitly targeted toward women.
The most excellent aspect of small business grants is that there is no requirement for payback, so the money is yours to use for your company.