Women-owned businesses (WOBs) are growing five times faster than the national average. Yet, WOBs are 5% less likely to be approved for a business loan. When they are approved, they receive less funding than their male counterparts. This places WOBs at a disadvantage and impacts their competitive edge.
The good news is, lenders and corporations acknowledge this gap and are making strides to even the playing field. What’s more, WOBs can save the expense of a loan by applying for free funding via business grants. Here are some grant opportunities to consider if you are looking to obtain capital at no cost.
The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant – Eileen Fisher awards five WOBs grants of up to $120,000. WOBs must promote social and environmental change, have been in business for at least three years and have annual profits under $1 million.
InnovateHER Grant – Akin to Shark Tank, women pitch their ideas to audiences and a panel of judges. The winner receives a $75,000 grant, sponsored by the Small Business Administration.
Amber Grants – Every month, $4,000 is awarded to a female entrepreneur aiming to start a small, local business. At the end of the year, the favorite grant recipient (as determined by a public vote) receives another $25,000.
Mom Inspired Grants – Aptly named, Huggies awards 12 $15,000 grants to women whose businesses are “inspired by the joys of motherhood.”
Open Meadows Foundation Grant – A $2,000 grant is awarded biannually to a business that promotes racial, gender or economic equality and whose operational budget does not exceed $75,000.
37 Angels Grants – Aiming to specifically help WOBs remain competitive, 37 Angels awards grants of up to $150,000.
The Girlboss Foundation Grant – Winners of this biannual grant receive $15,000 and gain exposure through the Girlboss platform.
National Association for the Self Employed – This is a monthly $4,000 growth grant given to small businesses for their chosen business need whether it be hiring employees, marketing or advertising.
The Walmart Foundation – These grants range between $250 and $250,000 and are awarded to nonprofits only. Bonus: Walmart states a preference for WOBs
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards – As one of the most competitive grants, seven winners receive $100,000, and 14 awardees get $30,000.
Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program – Not only does one WOB receive $100,000, she’s also given access to educations workshops, networking opportunities and consulting sessions.
After reviewing all your options, keep these things in mind as you work to apply for available grants:
- Determine exactly where the funds will be applied.
- Know how much funding you’ll need for your intended purpose.
- Identify organizations that have granted funds to businesses similar to yours in the past.
- In addition to public grants, consider private grants, which tend to be more lenient in their application requirements.
Also, be sure to contact the funder prior to submitting your application to ensure it is as competitive as it can be. The higher the award amount, the more you’ll need to put into your application to make it stand out.