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Small Business Grants for Women: 7 Opportunities You Need to Know

The 7 Best Small Business Grants for Women Entrepreneurs

These small business grants for women offer money for female-founded businesses.

  1. GrantsforWomen.org
  2. U.S. Small Business Association
  3. WomensNet Amber Grant
  4. FedEx Small Business Grant
  5. J.P. Morgan’s Grant Database
  6. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
  7. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

With female-founded unicorns being born at an unprecedented rate, numerous female entrepreneurs are blazing the path for other small business owners. While progress is being made, female founders still face an uphill battle when fighting for investors’ attention and money. To help female entrepreneurs in an increasingly competitive space, some government agencies, non-profits, and private companies offer small business grants for women.

Grant competitions are a great way for your business to receive funding outside of traditionally raising venture capital. We sifted through the best grants and opportunities offered specifically to female business owners and identified these seven resources to help you fund your business. 

1. GrantsforWomen.org: Small Business Grant Directory for Women

Summary: Grants for Women is a directory of national and small business grants and scholarships available to women.

Best for: Those who want to do hands-on research and have a list of all the grants available to them.

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Potential benefits: Types of grants and funding amounts vary based on the organization.

Application process: Links to distinct grant applications on the site. You can see their full grant directory.

Small Business Grants for Women: GrantsforWomen.org

Photo source: Grantsforwomen.org

2. U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Summary: Funded by the U.S. government, the SBA has various grants and programs that range from local qualifications to more general business qualifications.

Best for: To be eligible for a small business grant, you must fit within the more niche sectors listed on the site. In addition, when applying, you must have a DUNS number, register your institution with System of Award Management, as well as register with Grants.gov.

Potential benefits: Partnership with the SBA and ranges from distinct awards.

Application process: You can see a list of their current award programs linked here.

Small Business Grants for Women: U.S. Small Business Administration

Photo source: SBA

3. WomensNet’s Amber Grant: Small Business Grant for Women

Summary: Founded in 1998, Amber Grant is a grant program that selects a winner each month to receive $2,000 for their business.

Best for: Women who would like to apply for a small grant and are operating their for-profit business in the United States or Canada. Additionally, non-profits are not eligible for Amber Grants.

Potential benefits: Grant winners receive $2,000. If selected for the monthly Amber Grant, you are also eligible for the year-end $25,000 Amber Grant.

Application process: Apply with a brief form that explains the story behind your business as well as what you would do if awarded a grant. Applications are due at the end of the month and there is a standard $15 application fee. You can apply for an Amber Grant here.

 

4. FedEx Small Business Grant

Summary: The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest selects ten small business winners yearly, receiving grants, prizes, and insights from FedEx experts to help them grow their business.

Best for: For-profit businesses with fewer than 99 employees. Businesses must have been in operation for six months or more at the start of the contest.

Potential benefits: Small business grants include winning anywhere from $50,000 to $15,000 as well as a credit for FedEx printing and services and access to FedEx experts to help grow business. While this small business grant is not targeted for women, its aim is towards for-profit businesses. 

Application process: To enter in the contest, businesses need to write a short profile detailing their unique story and offerings. They also need to upload photos, a logo, and then create a one-minute video pitch. Note that you can get fans to vote for you to help you get noticed by the judges. Once the contest is live, you can see details on how to apply here.

Small Business Grants for Women: FedEx

Photo source: StartWheel

5. J.P. Morgan’s Grant Database

Summary: JPMorgan funds charitable, nonprofit organizations via various private foundations. 

Best for: Nonprofits with a specific industry focus and in a targeted geographic location.

Potential benefits: Benefits vary depending on the individual foundation. 

Application process: Sift through the foundation finder here and narrow down the organizations based on program areas and state. Access the finder here.

6. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program

Summary: The Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program supports women entrepreneurs who own a majority stake in a qualifying business and manages it on a day-to-day basis.

Best for: This small business grant program and fellowship series is targeted for early-stage companies (one to five years of operations). Additionally, this includes companies generating a minimum revenue of $75,000 and formed under United States law. However, non-profits are not eligible to apply.

Potential benefits: Fellows receive both educational training and resources in a four-day workshop series at the Tory Burch offices, a one-year fellowship with the Tory Burch Foundation. After that, they receive access to an online peer-to-peer network of women entrepreneurs. Lastly, fellows also receive a small business grant for women of $5,000 for business education.

Application process: Apply to be a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow via the online portal here. The application opens once a year.

 

Tory Burch Fellowship

Photo source: Fellows Program


7. Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

Summary: The Cartier Women’s Initiative supports female entrepreneurs from 7 regions (Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, East Asia and South Asia & Oceania) 

Best for: Female-founded early-stage companies with a proven business model and between one to five years of licensed or registered operations. Businesses must be impact-driven and therefore must align with at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These female entrepreneurs must also represent one of the seven regions mentioned above.

Potential benefits: 21 finalists will receive personalized business coaching, a series of business workshops and networking sessions, and interviews with the local and international press. They will also receive a scholarship to attend the six-day INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Executive Education Program.

There are 21 small business grants awarded to women. Seven laureates will receive $100,000 in prize money while the remaining 14 finalists will receive $30,000 in prize money.

Application process: Apply for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award once a year by applying here.

Winners of the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards 2018

Photo source: SJX